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McLean County Board chair John McIntyre resigns

Man standing and speaking in front of a microphone
Emily Bollinger
John McIntyre has served more than 22 years on the McLean County Board, and has served as board chair since 2016.

McLean County Board chair John McIntyre has submitted his resignation from the board effective immediately.

McIntyre, a retired educator and football coach who was re-elected in District 5 (Normal) last year, leaves with just over three years remaining on his term.

County board vice chair Elizabeth Johnston, a Democrat from Normal, assumes the role of chair until a new chair is elected Sept. 14.

McIntyre, 80, served more than 22 years on the county board over two stints, dating back to 1980. He rejoined the board in 2008 and was elected board chair in 2016, following Matt Sorensen’s resignation.

County board member Jim Soeldner, a Republican who previously served as board vice chair during McIntyre’s time as chair, said McIntyre is stepping down due to unspecified health issues.

“I didn’t realize there was any particular issue, so it was kind of a shock,” Soeldner said Monday.

McIntyre has helped the county preside over implementation of its mental health action plan that has included the opening of a mental health crisis center, an expansion of the county jail and technology upgrades to its criminal justice system.

Johnston said she appreciated McIntyre taking on a mentor role as she stepped into the vice chair seat last December.

She said McIntyre brought a spirit of service to the County Board.

“I’ve watched John navigate a lot of difficult issues and to try to do it with as much grace as possible,” Johnston said. “I can respect that.”

Johnston said she intends to seek the chair position when the board votes Sept. 14. She said in the meantime, she’s working with county administration to aid a smooth transition.

“There will be ... discussion with the administrative team on how to keep things running smoothly as far as what’s expected of me and what might be deferred to them,” Johnston said.

Soeldner said McIntyre’s departure is a big loss of institutional knowledge for the county. He said McIntyre took a level-headed approach to managing county issues and the board itself.

“I felt like he tried to be as fair to both (parties) as he could,” Soeldner said, referring to the power-sharing arrangement McIntyre brokered with Democrats after Democrats added enough seats to forge a 10-10 split with Republicans. Soeldner also credited McIntyre for his role in managing the county’s COVID response when there was pushback from multiple sides about the best way to proceed and for his role in the negotiations that brought manufacturers Rivian and Brandt Industries.

Applications are being taken to fill McIntyre's board vacancy through noon Oct. 5. Eligible applicants will address the board's Executive Committee on Oct. 9. Applicants must be a Republican (McIntyre's party) and live in District 5. That will maintain an even split between Democrats and Republicans on the board.

Messages left with McIntyre have not immediately been returned.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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