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Bloomington Election Commission again seeks new director

Charlie Schlenker

The Bloomington Election Commission is looking for its fourth executive director in two years as the November election approaches.

Commission chair Denise Williams said in that time there was one retirement, one resignation by mutual agreement, and the latest, Suzanne Fahnestock, has left to do something else after only 10 months on the job. William said it's nothing bad this time.

"She did an excellent job in the office. She was fantastic. But she wanted to pursue other opportunities. So, we wished her well," said Williams.

Before she came to the Bloomington Election Commission (BEC), Fahnestock was the emergency rental assistance program manager in Winnebago County. She also had served as the director of the DuPage County Election Commission at one time and ran the 2018 general election and the 2019 consolidated election.

Williams said the next director of the BEC will have to have some hard-to-find skills.

"Election experience or something similar in election law. If they don't have election law, something that can be transferable. I know other people have had experience with other legislative or policy issues from the state that could transfer over," said Williams.

The commission took five months to fill the post the last time it needed a new director. But Williams said the public doesn't need to worry about how November balloting will be conducted.

"Lindsay Collins is our assistant executive director. She is interim director right now. She was interim director last year. She's been with us for several years. She does a good job. She chooses not to take on the responsibility full time, but she's willing to be an interim director this time," said Williams.

Fahnestock replaced Tim Mitchell, who Williams said resigned by mutual agreement. Before that, longtime director Paul Shannon retired.

The City of Peoria also recently lost its election commission director.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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