Gasparini leaves post, appointment named

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-116784847327541.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘Winnebago County Circuit Clerk Marc Gasparini announced Dec. 28 he’s stepping down.‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-116784852213694.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘If appointed as Gasparini’s successor, Tom Klein pledged to run as a Republican in 2008 to keep the Circuit Clerk job.‘);

Seventeenth Judicial Circuit Clerk Marc Gasparini (R) announced Dec. 28 he’s stepping down to accept a job in the private sector, effective in mid-January or early February.

Gasparini was appointed in 1997 and won a special election the following year before being re-elected in 2000 and 2004. Gasparini has also long expressed interest in a congressional seat.

The Circuit Clerk will be taking a position with First Trust Portfolios L.P., a Lisle-based finance and investment firm. In his new post, Gasparini will be focused on municipal bonds.

“I’ve become very interested in the area of finance,” explained Gasparini, who has been pursuing a graduate degree in business at Rockford College for the past year. “It makes it much more interesting and enticing in the area of public finance because I’ll still be able to work with all the different units of local government here in Winnebago County.”

“We’re excited to have Marc be a part of our company,” explained Chad Thorson, senior vice president of Public Finance for First Trust. “We know it’ll make us a better firm.”

During a joint press conference with Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen, Gasparini thanked family and staff, and expressed sadness about leaving his post. Gasparini said, however, this is the best move for his family.

“We’ve had a real partnership in dealing with county government,” Christiansen noted, lamenting Gasparini’s loss. “Marc will sorely be missed.”

The chairman pointed out this will be the first time in nearly 30 years that a Gasparini isn’t in charge of a major county office.

“The Gasparinis have been involved in politics for a very long time in this community,” the outgoing clerk reminisced. “My brother Donnie, who’s probably the smartest one of us all, will probably get into politics someday.”

Don Gasparini Sr., who served as Winnebago County Sheriff for 17 years, was also in attendance.

Because he’ll be working mainly from home, Gasparini is not expected to relocate.

The Winnebago County Board must appoint a successor within 60 days. Christiansen is recommending Gasparini’s chief deputy, Tom Klein, to the County Board for appointment to the position. Klein has worked in the Office of the Circuit Clerk since 1981.

Klein said he’s proud to be considered to fill Gasparini’s shoes.

“He’s always been a leader in improvement in technology, and I feel like I should continue down that path,” Klein announced, addressing his plans. “Anything to make the office more consumer-friendly, I think, is a plus for everybody.”

The Circuit Clerk’s office is responsible for keeping and maintaining court records.

If appointed, Klein promised to run as a Republican in 2008 to keep the job.

Because of the Republican majority on the board, Klein’s appointment is expected to be approved.

The Winnebago County Board will hold a reception for Gasparini at one of its January meetings.

From the Jan. 3-9, 2007, issue

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