County proceeds with filling state's attorney vacancy

Aaron Kaney

BY SAMANTHA PIDDE

The Carroll County Board met via Zoom last week to formally accept long-time State's Attorney Scott Brinkmeier's resignation and move forward in filling the vacancy left by his departure.

Brinkmeier's resignation comes in the wake of the announcement on Feb. 2 of his appointment as the new associate judge for the 15th Judicial Circuit. He was selected from a field of seven candidates by a secret ballot majority vote of the eight resident judges in the circuit.

Brinkmeier, 53, of Mount Carroll, will be filling the vacancy left by former Associate Judge Jerry Kane after being elected Carroll County resident judge in November, succeeding Judge Val Gunnarsson, who retired.

Initially, the Carroll County Board planned to cancel last week's meeting. However, after the announcement and Brinkmeier's submital of a letter of resignation, the board agreed to meet as usual. The regular meeting was held at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, via Zoom.

Board Chairman Kevin Reibel began the meeting by thanking Brinkmeier for his almost two decades of service as State's Attorney. Brinkmeier was re-elected for his sixth four-year term last November. Reibel also read aloud Brinkmeier's letter of resignation.

Brinkmeier thanked the board, saying it has been an honor and privilege to serve the county as state's attorney.

The board unanimously accepted Brinkmeier's resignation and declared a vacancy in the state's attorney's office. The county Republican and Democratic parties will be notified and may submit names for a replacement to the County Board. Brinkmeier is a Republican.

Brinkmeier told board members that he cannot think of a better person to fill the vacancy than Assistant State's Attorney Aaron Kaney of Shannon. He pointed out that Kaney has served as assistant state’s attorney in Carroll County for 10 years and Brinkmeier said he feels he would do a good job.

Kaney, 36, was raised in Freeport and is a 2003 graduate of Freeport High School. He resides in Shannon with his wife, Amanda, and their two daughters, Ainsley and Adelaide. Kaney graduated from Taylor University in 2007 and Regent Law School in 2010.

Reibel said the two political parties will be given time to submit names for the position, with the county board approving a replacement within 60 days of receiving the names. He added they hope to have a replacement approved sooner than that. Brinkmeier's appointment to associate judge is effective March 1.

Kaney was one of the seven applicants for the associate judge vacancy. The other applicants were David Brown, Michelle Buckwalter-Shurman, Anthony Coon, Ronald Hennings and Anthony Peska.