Illinois school board member gets felony conviction pardon

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has granted a school board member a pardon for his nearly 40-year-old felony conviction, according to a state official.

Jeff McBride's petition was one of five the governor granted last month, Illinois Prisoner Review Board Chief Legal Counsel Jason Sweat told The Lake County News-Sun. Rauner denied clemency in nearly 60 other petitions.

"(It's a) wonderful thing, not just for Jeff, but for the voters of Waukegan," said Marty Shaffer, McBride's attorney. Shaffer said they've yet to receive any official paperwork regarding the pardon.

McBride won a seat on the Waukegan District 60 board in April 2017. He had previously served on the board.

An unsuccessful candidate for the school board questioned McBride's eligibility to remain on the board because of a 1981 felony theft conviction, according to court records. The Lake County State's Attorney's Office filed a legal challenge in March 2017 following the resident's complaint. The lawsuit argued that state law blocks someone with a felony from serving on a school board.

Shaffer said there's a legal exception for those who've received pardons, but declined to comment further on the pending litigation.

A state's attorney spokeswoman said the office hasn't yet received an official order regarding the pardon so no official decision has been made regarding the petition.

State's Attorney Michael Nerheim had submitted a recommendation on McBride's behalf to the review board. The board considered the petition before submitting a confidential recommendation to the governor. Nerheim said he knows McBride personally and was aware of the things he's done for the community.

McBride has worked with the Coalition to Reduce Recidivism, Boys and Girls Club and Citizens against Drugs and Alcohol, Shaffer said. McBride also served on the Waukegan Township Board of Trustees.

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Information from: Lake County News-Sun, http://newssun.chicagotribune.com/

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