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Will County Board Speaker Denise Winfrey sworn in as Interim County Executive at special county board meeting
Anastasia Tuskey
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Will County Board Speaker Denise Winfrey sworn in as Interim County Executive at special county board meeting

In a special meeting today of the Will County Board, Denise Winfrey (D-Joliet) was sworn in as interim County Executive. Winfrey succeeds Lawrence M. Walsh, who died on June 3, 2020. Winfrey is the first woman and the first minority to serve as Will County Executive.

“Today was a difficult day,” Winfrey said. “We have lost a dear friend in Larry Walsh and I can think of no one who loved Will County more. We have a duty as elected officials to keep the business of our county going.”

Winfrey will now assume the duties of county executive which includes the overseeing of 20 county departments and 2,300 employees, as well as presiding over the monthly county board meetings and as official representative of the county in all contractual and legal agreements.

This is the first time a county executive has died while in office and Winfrey acknowledged that a more formal succession policy should be created going forward. Longtime board member Jim Moustis (R-Frankfort) expressed concern for the Walsh family at the speed of the appointment.

“We do not want to appear insensitive to the family for making this decision even before Larry’s funeral but it is important to keep the operations of county government going,’ Moustis said. “Larry always wanted what was best Will County and its residents and I think he would want to keep our county moving forward.”

The county board members now must elect another board member to lead as County Board Speaker and a member of the Democratic Party from District 8 to fill the seat vacated by Winfrey on the county board.

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