'It's time to let someone else do it" : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|'It's time to let someone else do it" |
|Kendall County coroner says November election will be his last|
|by Matt Schury|
After 20 years in public office Kendall County Coroner Ken Toftoy says this will be his last election.
Toftoy, 54, made the announcement in a statement issued Monday saying, "I will retire at the end of this term if re-elected. It will be time to give someone else another chance to serve."
Independent candidate Mike Dabney of Oswego will be challenging Toftoy, a Republican, on the ballot in November.
"I just felt that, you know what, this is gonna be my last (election)," Toftoy said. "After 20 some years I just felt that, you know what, it's time to let someone else do it. I just figure (I'd) run one more time and I got some things I'm working.'
Those things Toftoy is working on include creating a mutual agreement with coroners in surrounding counties.
Toftoy said when the plan is finished it should be similar to the plans fire districts have for mutual aid in a disaster.
"I want to put together a little bit more defined disaster plan for the office," he said. "If someone has a major disaster in their county, or we have one here in Kendall, they will all be on board to help me out."
The program would involve all the counties surrounding Kendall including-Will, DuPage, DeKalb, Grundy, LaSalle and Kane Counties.
Toftoy said he is also "working to get some state grant money" to provide the deputy coroners with small laptops in order to file reports and do their work outside of the coroner's office. He noted that DuPage County does this with their deputy coroners.
Toftoy said that he stood by his work over the last two decades.
"I felt very proud of the office, I took it out of a funeral home 20 years ago," he said, adding that he also had morgue equipment donated by Rush Copley Medical Center in 1995.
Toftoy added that he is still there for families when they have a loss.
"I still cry with families and I still feel bad," he said, noting the most recent death of three teenagers in a fatal accident on Route 126 near Schlapp Road a couple months ago.
"Having two moms and dads come in at once and two 18 year olds laying there, it's tough, you know, you gotta deal with it. I'm not done dealing with families. It just starts to be like-wow how much more stress can I take," Toftoy said.
He added that accidents like that weigh on him even after he gets home.
"It's hard to shut the mind off at night sometimes," he said.
When asked if he would seek higher office, Toftoy said he wouldn't.
In 2000, Toftoy unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Republican State Senator Chris Lauzen for his seat representing the 25th district.
"I don't have any big plans for anything. I'll just see what happens. I kind of hate to make too big of plans you know (I) might not be around like that old saying 'here today gone tomorrow,'" he said.
For this last election, Toftoy says he is going to give it his usual best shot.
"I've always been a hard campaigner and a hard worker with the office and that's what I mean by finishing strong-holding my head up high and moving on," he said.
Toftoy he says he always enjoys interacting with the public, especially at summer events and parades.
"I always hand out the bottles of water with my name on it and everybody is always hollering and that support feels good," he said.
Over the years, Toftoy has locked horns with the Kendall County Board.
He notes that the coroner's office is staffed by himself and just one other full time deputy coroner.
"I haven't done anything illegal and the budget is $152,000, which is a pretty low number to take care of the dead," Toftoy said.
He said that he has learned to deal with the "uphill battles."
"I'm just Kenny and some people that have been on the board probably don't like my personality but like I tell them just call the families (of the deceased)," he said. "You can't screw up when someone loses somebody because they'll remember. So far I haven't had any bad letters in 20 years."