More options soon could come for local governments in Illinois dealing with elected officials who have been charged with crimes. A new proposal in the Illinois General Assembly comes in the wake of theft and misconduct charges filed against Winnebago County Coroner Bill Hintz. He pleaded not guilty to counts of theft and official misconduct after allegedly stealing cash and property from the dead and misusing more than $15,000 in taxpayer funds.
State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Cherry Valley, said the county chairman tried to remove Hintz from his position before he could do more harm, but options were limited. Hintz, who eventually agreed to be placed on administrative leave last September, is facing a total of 49 charges. Syverson’s measure, Senate Bill 3460, would apply to elected county and township officials who award contracts and have access to taxpayer funds. Syverson said the bill would provide a path to place an official on paid leave.