Dunstan recommends Nelson for circuit clerk appointment

Bethany Krajelis Jun. 19, 2012, 7:45am

Madison County Acting Circuit Clerk Judy Nelson has been recommended to serve out the remainder of her late boss' term.

County Board Chairman Alan J. Dunstan made the announcement today and will formally recommend Nelson for the post at Wednesday night's board meeting. Nelson, the county's longtime deputy circuit clerk, has served as acting clerk since her former boss, Matt Melucci, died May 10.

"As Matt Melucci's Chief Deputy, Judy Nelson performed an integral role in making the Circuit Clerk's office more efficient, more transparent and more committed to serving the people of Madison County and the Third Judicial Circuit," Dunstan said in a statement. "Without question, she is eminently qualified to run the office until the candidate elected in the November general election takes office."

Dunstan said today that his decision to recommend Nelson was a "no-brainer" and expects Nelson's appointment "to go through without a problem."

"Judy Nelson has the experience and knowledge of the intricate inner-workings of the office," he said in a statement. "Although Matt (Melucci) is professionally and personally missed, the appointment of Judy Nelson ensures the office will continue to operate efficiently and will smoothly handle the transition to the Circuit Clerk-elect. She is the right choice."

Nelson said today that she hopes the board agrees with Dunstan's recommendation and looks forward to her appointment. She said the transition will be seamless given her familiarity with the office, which is one of several reasons why Dunstan said he recommended Nelson.

Dunstan said whoever the board appoints to serve out Melucci's term will only have a few months to learn the operations of the office before voters elect a new circuit clerk in the General Election.

Melucci, who had served in the position for 20 years, had planned to retire when his term expires in December. Democrat Mark von Nida and Republican John Barberis Jr. are vying for the post in the November general election

Nelson has served as the deputy circuit clerk since 1998, during which time she has managed the operations of about 85 deputy clerks in collecting and distributing fines and fees and maintaining paper and automated court record systems for the Third Judicial Circuit.

"While I am pleased Chairman Dunstan has the confidence in me to fill the important position of Circuit Clerk, it is somewhat bittersweet," Nelson said in a prepared statement. "Matt Melucci was my boss, my best friend and a man with exceptional integrity who honorably served the people of Madison County and the Third Judicial Circuit."

She said she will work with her colleagues in the circuit clerk's office "to honor Matt's memory and his tradition by effectively supporting our courts, the legal profession and the efforts of law enforcement to serve the public."

Nelson, a graduate of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Business, is a commissioner of the Madison County Housing Authority. She also serves on the board of directors and executive advisory committee for the East-West Gateway Council of Governments and on the executive committee of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates).

In addition to announcing Nelson as his recommendation for circuit clerk, Dunstan said today that the chief deputy position that Nelson served in for more than a decade will remain unfilled, a move that he said will result in payroll savings.

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