Leading Candidates for County Clerk Appointment Tout Their Skills

December 10, 2010

A deputy clerk for Champaign County said he believes that a move up to the clerk's position will make for a seamless transition.

John Farney has worked for Mark Shelden for nearly four years, in the vital records and elections areas. Shelden will resign next month to become Urbana Congressman Tim Johnson's Chief of Staff. Farney and Champaign City Council member Gordy Hulten will interview for the job before County Republican Precinct Committeemen Monday night.

At least one other unidentified candidate is expected to attend the meeting at GOP headquarters. Farney said he is not concerned about additional names coming forward.

"Frankly, I do hope other people show up and say 'hey, I've got some interest in this," Farney said. "It should be an open process. While I think I'm uniquely qualified for it, the more the merrier I say. I'm always looking forward to bringing more ideas out."

Meanwhile, Hulten said the marketing and sales duties at Devonshire Reality would suit him well for the County Clerk's position, along with 20 years of experience managing political campaigns.

"I've managed staff, managed budgets, been accountable for results, and had to use communication tools to effectively serve our clients and win new business, and those are all things the county clerk has to do," he said. "The county clerk may be the county office that interacts with customers the most."

Champaign County GOP Chair Jason Barickman said he is highly optimistic that his party will select a nominee for county clerk Monday night. The Champaign County Board will vote on that person's appointment next month.

A former County Board member and longtime parliamentarian said state law mandates that when a county elected official resigns, that that person's political party must find a replacement. Democrat Steve Beckett said it is also been a matter of custom in Champaign County.

"I cannot think of a time in the 10 years that I was on the county board where we replaced an elected official and did not accept the nomination from the respective party, Democrat or Republican," Beckett said.

Beckett added that county board members certainly have the option of voting against the GOP appointee for clerk. He says he did it once himself, when a new county auditor was named, but no one has been rejected.

Story source: WILL