Update: Former Kane Treasurer Rickert’s resignation email to Board Chair Pierog

Republicans called for Rickert to resign after starting new job in Winnebago County

KANE COUNTY – After nearly a month of collecting two salaries, Kane County Treasurer David Rickert resigned his post effective Jan. 3, according to an email from Board Chair Corinne Pierog.

In late December, a bipartisan group of county board members called for Rickert to resign as treasurer, stating that continuing to serve as treasurer while serving as Winnebago County Chief Financial Officer would be a disservice to both counties.

Pierog was not available for further comment as her husband has taken ill, according to the email.

Rickert did not respond to a request for comment.

The day after Rickert lost his bid to become the board chairman to Pierog on Nov. 3, he applied for the job of Winnebago County Chief Financial Officer, records show. Rickert began working for Winnebago County on Dec. 7, even before that county board approved his hiring in a 19-0 vote Dec. 10.

Rickert did not resign from his Kane County post at that point. Legally, he could have worked in Winnebago County and continued as treasurer – a position he’s held for 21 years – in Kane County.

Pierog had said then that she checked with Kane County State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser and learned that “there is no legal mandate that an elected official shows up to work,” whether in person or remotely.

At that time, Pierog said Rickert could collect both salaries and there was nothing Kane officials could do about it.

Pierog will have to appoint someone to take over the county treasurer’s position.

Rickert’s salary as Winnebago’s chief financial officer was listed as $122,500. Rickert’s salary as Kane County treasurer was listed at $99,990 for 2019, so if he had continued to receive salaries from both counties until the end of his term in Kane County, he would have earned $222,490 annually for two years.

Board member Bill Lenert, R-Sugar Grove, said he did not know if Rickert resigned in Kane County because of the criticism from board members.

“I am very happy that Mr. Rickert resigned,” Lenert said. “I think it was the best thing for Kane County and Winnebago County that he did resign. Both positions are very important positions and you need to devote 100% to either, but you can’t do it to both. It doesn’t matter if it’s legal or not, whether it’s proper, ethical or moral is really the issue and that is what everybody has to look at personally.”

Kane County board member Kenneth Shepro, R-Wayne, who also is the Republican Party Chairman for Kane County, said he always felt that Rickert “was a moral and ethical public official and ran his office accordingly, so I never believed that he intended to attempt to hold both offices.”

Shepro said in his conversations with Rickert that the former treasurer said he thought his obligation to Kane County was to stay through the tax sale, which ends around Feb. 1.

“Arguably, it presented a finish to his service as the longest-serving treasurer in Kane County history, [and] it would close out revenue collection for the year of sale,” Shepro said.

“In his tenure, he developed a strong relationship with the county auditor and supervisor of assessments, which has strengthened the cooperation of those three key offices, and he has faithfully discharged the mandate that he shall, ‘receive and safely keep the revenues and public monies of the county,’ ” Shepro said, quoting from the state statute.

The process for appointing a new treasurer begins with Rickert’s letter of resignation to the board chair, Shepro said.

Pierog will appoint a new treasurer – someone who voted Republican, the same party as Rickert, in the last primary election – with the advice and consent of the county board, Shepro said.

When the previous state’s attorney John Barsanti was appointed as a judge, the previous board chair Karen McConnaughay appointed a committee to interview applicants in public meetings to arrive at appointing Joe McMahon. Shepro said in his recollection the committee was made up of community leaders and perhaps one board member.