Hartwell, Nendick vie for circuit clerk

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Sept. 11, 2012 9:25 a.m. CDT

Both candidates for the post of Kane County circuit clerk agree the lawsuit between current Kane County Circuit Clerk Deborah Seyller and the county was a black mark on the office.

Seyller, who was elected in December 1996, is not running for re-election.

The race pits Tom Hartwell, an attorney and Republican who lives near Elgin, against Aurora businessman and Democrat Ed Nendick.

Seyller sued county officials in 2010 in a dispute about funding for her office.

She accused county officials of deliberately underfunding her office.

The lawsuit cost Kane County about $450,000 by the time it was settled in September 2011.

Hartwell said the lawsuit “was a total waste of taxpayers’ dollars.” Nendick believed the suit “cost the integrity of the clerk’s office.”

The Kane County circuit clerk is in charge of establishing, maintaining and keeping records of county courts.

Hartwell believes his experience as a lawyer and former County Board member would serve him well in the office.

“I have a good relationship with the judges and attorneys who use the system,” Hartwell said. “From 1996 to 2000, I was on the Kane County Board. I understand the processes from that standpoint as well.”

Nendick, who ran against Seyller in 2008 and lost, said he would bring a business approach to the office.

“Do you want a lawyer to run a clerk of the circuit clerk’s office or do you want a businessperson?” Nendick asked. He is vice president at O’Connor & Nendick, a metal stamping and precision metal forming industry.

One of the issues the office is facing is updating case management software.

County officials for years have sought new case management software to help the offices that make up the county’s court and public safety systems electronically share documents that circulate among the offices whenever someone is charged with a crime or files a suit.

The County Board had agreed to pursue the project, despite a cost estimate of $12.6 million to design and install the system.

Hartwell said that number is way out of line.

“I don’t see any justification for it,” he said.

Nendick said the Kane County Circuit Clerk’s Office could use DuPage County’s system for nothing.

“They are willing to give it to us,” Nendick said. “It will run on our computer.”

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