Officials Still Trying To Fill Vacancy After Deceased Candidate Defeats Incumbent
When voters went to the polls last month, a majority chose Joe Boyer for Rock Run Township highway commissioner. He passed away March 1. Stephenson County Clerk Vici Otte says by the time her office was made aware of the death, absentee voting had already started:
"Our first reaction is to be respectful to the family. Because of the time cycle with the election process, and the fact that ballots had already been cast, at that point in time, we weren't able to make any changes. All of our memory cards are programmed, ballots are coded and printed, and ballots have already been cast." - Stephenson County Clerk Vici Otte
According to Rock Run Supervisor Ray Bordner, the office of highway commissioner will be declared vacant on May 20. The board then has 60 days to appoint a new commissioner. The law requires that they be of the same political party as who was elected, in this case Democrat. If the board fails to appoint someone within 60 days after declaring a vacancy, there will need to be a special meeting held and the electors will make the decision. At the board's May meeting, Bordner says they will probably appoint an interim commissioner to perform the day to day duties until a suitable replacement can be found. Candidates must be a resident of Rock Run Township to be considered. The board plans to conduct candidate interviews in early June.
Boyer defeated Republican incumbent Eric Fiene and independent Shawn Schadewaldt.
Fiene declined to comment because of what he calls the unique nature of the election and the future appointments that still remain undecided.
The highway commission is for a four-year term.
The family declined to comment for this story.