After 26 Years, The Gatekeeper Of Lake County’s Record Is Ending Her Term

Mary Ellen Vanderventer, who has served as the gatekeeper of the office of Lake County Recorder of Deeds for the past 26 years, will end her tenure when she is no longer elected to that post.

During her time in office, Vanderventer has had to adapt to a number of significant political and technical shifts, as she was the only Democrat among countywide elected officials for a while. Her last day of work is on November 30.

As of the first of December, the office will be closed and the responsibilities of the recorder will be transferred to the newly elected Lake County Clerk, Anthony Vega.

According to Vanderventer, who began her professional career in 1986 as an elections administrator at the clerk’s office, this position has been a “dream job” of “doing good actions for you.”

She expressed that she will miss the daily interactions with members of the public and thanked the staff members for their dedication, commitment, and support throughout the years.

She posed the question, “Who gets to go to work for 36 years and have a blast every day?”

In 1996, Vanderventer emerged victorious over a formidable opponent from the Republican party to make history as Lake County’s first female recorder. When she departs her position, she will be the final registrar for Lake County.

Vanderventer was born and raised in Waukegan, and she is the daughter of Bill Durkin, who served as Mayor of Waukegan for two terms, and the sister of another Bill Durkin, who served on the county board from 2010 to April of this year before resigning.

When Vanderventer first started, she was the only Democrat elected at the countywide level; however, that has completely changed over the course of the past few elections.

She referred to the area as a “Republican county” in her statement. “Look at it today. It’s great.”

After 26 Years, The Gatekeeper Of Lake County's Record Is Ending Her Term

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When the newly elected officials take their oaths of office on December 5, the Democrats will have a 14-5 majority on the county board. Democrats now hold the majority of the top countywide offices.

Vanderventer stated that she has prioritised providing excellent service to customers over engaging in political activities in the office, which is one of the most profitable for the Lake County government.

She stated that she had the “true joy” of getting along with everyone on both sides of the aisle. “I have never been subjected to any of the sufferings that other people went through and that other people are still going through.”

Even though Vanderventer isn’t exactly a household name, a significant number of people living in Lake County take advantage of the services that the office offers, which include documenting, conserving, and providing access to public documents.

Land transactions of some kind, such as a mortgage or a deed, account for ninety per cent of the data in question. The recorder is also responsible for keeping the military discharge documents safe.

According to Vanderventer, the transition to electronic filing has been the most significant change that has taken place in the office.

“When I stepped in” (in 1996, after she had been elected), she recalled, “we didn’t even have a fax machine.”

Although there are millions of records dating back to 1844 that can be accessed online, the old volumes are still in use.

According to Vanderventer, “No matter what electronic bells and whistles this office has, you can still search for things the old-fashioned way, and that’s the unique element of this workplace.”

She had planned to run for clerk, but eventually changed her mind and decided not to. In light of the fact that her husband had finally reached retirement age and was eager to embark on a world excursion, and in light of the fact that she was scheduled to complete a fourth computer conversion, she made the decision to quit a profession that she had cherished

She stated, “I feel fantastic about the legacy I’m leaving and about Anthony (Vega) coming in.” “He’s young, and he’s got a clear vision. No regrets.”

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