A rumor is a piece of unverified information of uncertain origin usually spread by word of mouth.

The latest rumor swirling around the Madison County Courthouse is that longtime Circuit Clerk Matt Melucci will not seek a fifth term.

Melucci, first elected as circuit clerk in 1992, has not made an official announcement that he is in fact leaving the office, but several Record sources have said that it is a "done deal."

Melucci and his chief deputy, Judy Nelson, were not available for comment Tuesday.

Melucci's life after circuit clerk is unclear. One source speculates that Melucci will run for public office again, just what office is unclear.

"I know that he was thinking about running for County Board Chairman in 2004, but was talked out of doing it," one source said.

"He has told me for years that he does not want to be a life-long clerk, he has bigger political aspirations," the source said.

Melucci also serves on the East-West Gateway Council board of directors.

In 2004, Melucci adopted Clericus Magnus' internet browser, called eMagnus, to make the court's docket and case information available online in real time-as soon as the clerk's office enters the information.

The adoption of eMagnus has kept Madison County in the technological forefront among Illinois court systems, winning Melucci praise from his staff.

Democratic allegiance is split in Madison County among those aligned with the Madison County Democratic Team, and those loyal to the long-established Madison County Democratic Central Committee.

As its treasurer, Melucci figures prominently in the Madison County Democratic Team. As of the last semi-annual report posted in February, the organization had $14,131.67 in its coffers.

The committee was organized in 1998, and its most recent contributions came in the fall of 2005 from the fund-raising groups of seven of the county's top Democrats. They include Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan, State's Attorney Bill Mudge, Treasurer Fred Bathon, Sheriff Robert Hertz, Superintendent Harry Briggs, Auditor Rick Faccin and Melucci.

On the other hand, the Madison County Democratic Central Committee had $42,311.10 on hand in the same reporting period.

The most recent contribution, a $36,719.73 transfer from the "JFK Ad Book Committee," came on Jan. 24.

After the semi-annual report was filed in February, asbestos lawyer Jeffrey Cooper of SimmonsCooper contributed $15,000 the "Democratic Central Committee" on March 9.

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