Lake County recorder: Merge my office with county clerk's

  • Mary Ellen Vanderventer

    Mary Ellen Vanderventer

Updated 12/5/2019 7:43 PM

Longtime Lake County Recorder of Deeds Mary Ellen Vanderventer on Thursday said it's time for her office to merge with the county clerk's.

Vanderventer, the recorder since 1996, wants voters to decide the issue through a referendum in November 2020. Under Vanderventer's plan, a merger would occur in 2022.


"I think Lake County is ready to make a decision regarding consolidation," Vanderventer said in a news release.

It's up to the Lake County Board to put such a question on the ballot.

Vanderventer, of Waukegan, is seeking reelection in 2020 and is the only Democrat running. Republican Emilia Czyszczon of Deerfield is the lone GOP candidate. They'll face off in November 2020.

The recorder's office keeps real estate transactions, military discharge papers and other documents.

The clerk's office oversees elections and maintains birth, marriage and death records, as well as other documents.

Eliminating the Lake County's recorder's office isn't a new proposal. Vanderventer's Republican opponents in 2012 and 2016 strongly endorsed consolidating the office with the clerk's staff, saying it could save money.

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Vanderventer opposed consolidation in 2012, but in 2016 she said she'd support investigating whether a merger is fiscally prudent.

Vanderventer unveiled her proposal Thursday morning during the county board's financial and administrative committee meeting in Waukegan.

Putting the plan to voters a year from now would give officials time to deal with any questions or concerns, she said.

Committee leader Paul Frank, a Highland Park Democrat, said he supports the merger proposal. The group will discuss next steps at its meeting in January, he said.

County board member Dick Barr, a Round Lake Beach Republican, said Vanderventer is calling for a merger only because Czyszczon is pushing for it, like the Republicans before her.

"(Vanderventer) should have done this at least a decade ago, if not earlier," Barr said in a Facebook post Thursday.

County Clerk Robin O'Connor, a Libertyville Democrat, said she's looking forward to more discussion and some fiscal analysis.

According to Vanderventer's news release, more than 80 of Illinois' 102 counties have a combined recorder and clerk's office. McHenry County voters last year approved consolidating the offices there by December 2020.

DuPage County voters will decide next fall if the offices should merge.

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