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County Board must act to name new sheriff

Letter of succession only gives authority until appointment can be made

With the passing of Sheriff Terry Marketti, Chief Deputy Kevin Callahan is Grundy County's interim sheriff, but an official appointment still has to be made.

The Democratic and Republican central committees were notified of the position's vacancy Monday by Grundy County Board Chairman Ron Severson, as required by state statute, said State's Attorney Jason Helland.

Sheriff Marketti died in his sleep in the early morning hours of Friday, Dec. 14. Grundy County Coroner John Callahan said Marketti had been fighting medical issues. At his funeral Tuesday, hundreds of people came to pay their respects, including law enforcement members from all over the state.

Through state statute, sheriffs and coroners can file letters of succession with their county clerk's offices naming who takes over in the case of their death. Marketti named his chief deputy, Kevin Callahan, in his letter. The letter indicates that Callahan is to be in office until there is an election or an appointment, Helland said.

"An election is only necessary if there is over 28 months (left in the term) and there is only 23 and a half months, so there will be an appointment by the county board within 60 days," he said.

Marketti was a Democrat, so the appointment needs to be of a Democrat, he continued.

The county board will await a recommendation for the appointment from the Grundy County Democratic Central Committee.

Callahan said he is a registered Democrat.

"I never hoped this day would come, but it has," said Callahan. "I understand an appointment needs to be nominated by the Democratic party. If the party is willing to choose me as their pick, I'm going to accept that and move forward to the board to see if the board agrees with that."

Democrat Committee Chairman Mike Clemmons said the committee will be meeting soon to discuss their nomination and meet the 60-day deadline.

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