Endorsement: Yes to merge Lake County recorder, clerk offices

The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Updated 10/19/2020 8:34 PM

For many years, we have added our voice to those calling for more to be done to reduce the number of units of government in Illinois, which long has ranked as the nation's runaway leader in that dubious category.

Consolidation has been touted to improve transparency and efficiency, eliminate overlap and save money.


One such effort is a Nov. 3 referendum on Lake County ballots asking voters to eliminate the elected position of recorder of deeds and merge the office under the county clerk. At least 80 of the state's 102 counties have this structure.

If approved, the merger would be finalized by Dec. 1, 2022, and the elected position would disappear. The recorder's office keeps real estate transactions, military discharge papers and other documents; the clerk's office oversees elections and maintains records including birth, marriage and death. Those duties would continue.

The move has been discussed by county leaders for many years. This ballot issue was proposed by longtime recorder, Democrat Mary Ellen Vanderventer of Waukegan, who seeks reelection against Republican Emilia Czyszczon of Deerfield, who also supports it. The county board voted 20-0 with one abstention (Waukegan Democrat Bill Durkin, who is Vanderventer's brother) to put the measure to voters. There is no known organized opposition.

No formal cost study was done, but proponents say initial savings come from eliminating the recorder's $127,874 salary, health insurance and other benefits. More efficiencies and savings may be found later.

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With two years to plan, officials say residents won't notice a change beyond the name on the door.

More importantly, this is in line with reducing the size of government.

We urge a yes vote.

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