The chairman of the DuPage Election Commission has resigned in the wake of a report that criticized a broad range of practices at the bipartisan agency.
J.P. “Rick” Carney of Wheaton, who had served on the election board's three-person board of commissioners since 2005, submitted his resignation Friday, the same day that DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin and 11 County Board members sent Carney a letter urging him to step aside.
As part of a broad review that Cronin recently initiated to look at the management of county agencies, an accounting firm presented a report concluding that the election commission needs to improve its disclosure, ethics and procurement policies, among other things.
On Wednesday, a day after the report was made public, Cronin removed two commissioners who had been serving even after their terms had expired. In their place he appointed Cathy Ficker Terrill of Elmhurst and Art Ludwig of West Chicago to the commission's board.
However, Cronin also sought to replace Carney, who had been the commission's chairman since 2006 and whose term had not been set to expire until January 2013.
In a letter to Cronin, Carney defended his work on the commission's board, noting that some of the recommendations that the accounting firm had made were ones that “have already been under review by the Commission, and according to the report if adopted, will be satisfied.”
Carney also wrote that the report pointed out that recent organizational efficiencies already implemented by the commission had saved taxpayers about $5 million.
On top of all of that, Carney, the onetime DuPage County Recorder, wrote that “since 2006, the DuPage County Election Commission has successfully and efficiently administered an unprecedented level of federal and state election procedures and policies that have provided more access to voting at less cost to taxpayers with one hundred percent accuracy. No one has questioned that.”
He also noted that he took the initiative to end costly health and pension benefits to board members, “well before the issues became today's headlines.”
In a statement, Cronin thanked Carney for his service and for stepping aside and expressed optimism about the county starting “anew with fresh leadership at the Election Commission.”
Carney did not respond to a request for comment.