McHenry County Board chairman says Republican Party’s coroner pick not qualified, an attempt to politicize office

WOODSTOCK – A total of nine candidates, including a former McHenry County Board member, have applied to replace former McHenry County Coroner Anne Majewski, who resigned in March to address ongoing health complications.

McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks said whoever the board ends up appointing to serve as county coroner will be eminently qualified for the job. However, Franks said one candidate – the McHenry County Republican Party’s pick for the position Michael Rein – is not qualified.

“I want to professionalize the office and depoliticize our government,” Franks said.

Majewski was first elected coroner in 2012 and was reelected in 2016. Her current term was set to expire in 2020.

In April, the McHenry County Board declared a vacancy within the coroner’s office. Since then, McHenry County Sheriff Bill Prim has served as interim coroner with David Devane, the sheriff’s office’s chief administration officer, assisting.

Coroner applicants include Rein of Woodstock, Patricia Bogard of Island Lake, Shannon Havenhill of Crystal Lake, Richard Jackson of Crystal Lake, Mark Justen of McHenry, Lisa Maire of Wonder Lake, Orlando Portillo of Richmond, Teresa Steph of Cary and Edith Varga of Richmond.

Coroners are the conservators of peace and in the performance of their duties as such, they shall have the same powers as the county sheriff, according to Illinois statute.

Other duties include investigating the death of any ward of the state, conducting public and community education programs, issuing death certificates and handling office finances.

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