A familiar face at the Cass County Courthouse will not seek another term in office after a 28 year career.
Cass County Clerk Michael Kirchner says he’s not seeking an 8th term and will leave the post after his current term ends in December of 2014.
“I really like what I’m doing and I have a really great staff,” says Kirchner. “They’re really making my job easier than it’s ever been. But I’ve done it a long time and I’ve invested 100 percent in my pension for seven years, so I could have left that long ago. It was an extremely difficult decision for me because it was hard to let go but it’s probably time to move on.”
Kirchner says it’s been a privilege to serve the voters of Cass County.
“I just enjoy people,” says Kirchner. “I enjoy getting out and helping people. In my office I’ve had several people compliment us. I stress to my staff that we strive to provide a public, personal service because without the public we wouldn’t be here.”
The 62-year-old Beardstown native says the job has been incredibly rewarding, but there have been challenges in keeping up with ever-changing election laws. He points to punch cards being replaced by scanning machines, which require more maintenance; and the new state law allowing 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections, which cost the county about $2,000 to put into action.
Kirchner says he’s proud of the automated recording system that replaced the paper system in June of 2011.
“We went to do what we call back-indexing where it shows the whole history of a property,” says Kirchner. “That was stopped in 1984 because it was done manually and it was too cumbersome. Now we’re going back and trying to enter that into the computers and we’re back to April of 2008. I’m real proud of that because that’s going to be a good service. It’ll not only make my staff’s job easier, but the public’s job easier when they come in to look up a property and they don’t know much information about it.”
Kirchner says two people have expressed interest in running for the soon-to-be-vacant post: Beardstown City Clerk Brian “Petie” Ruch and Cass County Chief Deputy Clerk Shelley Wessel.