WOODSTOCK – McHenry County Recorder Joe Tirio, who ran to abolish the office all together, made official his intent to run for the McHenry County Clerk’s Office into which the recorder will be folded with voter approval.
Tirio, of Woodstock, is seeking the Republican nomination for county clerk in the March 2018 primary, ending months of speculation over his intentions. Republican County Clerk Mary McClellan is not seeking a second term and is running instead for circuit court judge.
The announcement comes a month after the County Board voted to put a binding referendum on the same March 20 ballot asking voters whether they want to eliminate the recorder’s office and merge its responsibilities into the county clerk’s office, as is done in most Illinois counties.
Tirio, who was elected recorder in November, said becoming county clerk will make for an easier integration should voters decide to eliminate the recorder’s office.
“I think there are more opportunities for the integration of the two offices, and I think I’m the best guy to find and implement those savings when we bring those two offices together,” Tirio said.
The recorder’s office, which has 3.4 million documents on file dating back to the county’s founding, is responsible for recording, retrieving and maintaining land records and real estate transactions, subdivision plans, military discharge papers and other records.
The McHenry County Board is the most recent entity to examine consolidating the office as a cost-saving measure, citing major advances in computer and data storage technology.
The county clerk’s office is responsible for supervising elections and voter registration; maintaining birth, death and marriage certificates; maintaining County Board records; and taking the minutes and roll call at its voting meetings.
The office of recorder will cease to exist at the Dec. 1, 2020, end of the current term if voters approve the referendum.
Tirio will have to resign the recorder’s office with two years remaining on his term should he win the county clerk’s election in November. Should voters also approve the referendum – which county leaders consider all but certain – the County Board under state statute would have to appoint someone to serve the final two years of the office. However, there is no law that sets forth penalties if the position is not filled.
Most of the state’s 102 counties have a merged clerk and recorder’s office because state law mandates a minimum county population of 60,000 to separate them. Voters in recent years in Cook, Tazewell, McLean and Peoria counties have chosen to eliminate their recorders’ offices.
McClellan, of Holiday Hills, announced last month that she will run for the 22nd Judicial Circuit seat vacated by retired Judge Maureen McIntyre.