WOODSTOCK – McHenry County Clerk Katherine Schultz is calling it quits after more than two decades in office.
Schultz, 71, was first elected county clerk in 1990, but her time in the office long precedes that – former County Clerk Vernon Kays hired her in 1959 after she graduated high school.
She cited her age and desire to travel as the main reasons behind the decision.
“I’ll be 73 when this term ends,” Schultz said during a break in Tuesday’s meeting of the McHenry County Board where she calls the roll. “I have other things that I want to do, to be honest with you.
“I still have my health and everything, but who’s to say what’s to come?”
Schultz is the third holder of countywide office to decide against running for re-election next year.
Sheriff Keith Nygren and Treasurer Bill LeFew also are stepping down in 2014. Both of their seconds-in-command – Undersheriff Andrew Zinke and Chief Deputy Treasurer Glenda Miller – are running to replace them, with the endorsements of their retiring bosses.
Republicans hold all countywide offices and all but two County Board seats.
Kays hired Schultz to work in the voter registration department. She became chief tax extender in 1973 and chief deputy clerk in 1978.
Schultz has earned a number of accolades in her career, and the trust and admiration of the County Board and other county employees.
The County Board surprised Schultz in 2009 by naming the entrance road to the county Administration Building “Honorary Katherine C. Schultz Way.” In 2011, the Illinois Association of County Clerks and Recorders named her county clerk of the year. A decade earlier, the Illinois House of Representatives adopted a resolution honoring her leadership in implementing optical voting technology in McHenry County.
Schultz’s announcement is sure to mean a shakeup in county politics, and at the very least a contested GOP primary. Republicans who want to move up the elected ranks have eyed the seat over the past decade, and begin asking “will she or won’t she” in the months before the petitions are available.
“It will be interesting to watch,” Schultz said.
As for traveling, Schultz wants to visit Europe and the four U.S. states she has never visited: Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii.