Voters to decide whether McHenry County coroner should be elected or appointed

A shadow of uncertainty has been cast on the future of the McHenry County coroner’s office amid debates over whether its leader should be elected or appointed.

That decision will now be in the hands of voters next fall.

The county board voted 15-7 this week to place a binding question on the Nov. 3 ballot seeking to abolish the coroner as an elected position. If the measure is approved, board members would be responsible for choosing the coroner, who oversees the investigation and certification of the causes and manner of deaths.

The concept was introduced by board Chairman Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat, who called for an evaluation of the office after former Republican Coroner Anne Majewski resigned in March for health reasons. Studies were completed by the sheriff’s office and a third-party doctor, and a committee was created to examine options for addressing what Franks says has been the history of dysfunction and neglect in the coroner’s office.

“It’s not going to be fixed by hoping that someone with the right skills and personality wins this election,” he told board members Tuesday. “Even if our coroner’s office wasn’t in shambles, this situation would be screaming for a change.”

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