Don Crist, Vermilion County’s supervisor of assessments since 1998, formally announced his resignation Thursday.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn recently appointed Crist to chairman of the state’s property tax appeal board, according to a press release. He assumes that position Oct. 1.

Vermilion County Board Chairman Jim McMahon said he was aware of Crist’s intention to resign about two days ago, but received written notification on Thursday.

“Since I’ve been supervisor for three years, Don’s been a person who was available for me to answer questions,” McMahon said. “I think the governor made a good choice.”

“Anytime you can go to the state and represent millions of people … it’s a privilege,” McMahon added. “It’s a huge, deserving promotion. I think that’s an honor.”

Crist’s resignation means a vacancy will be declared in the seat at the county board’s October meeting.

What’s been done in the past is the chairman of the Democratic Party, of which Crist is a member, will caucus with precinct committeemen to have someone be appointed.

McMahon expects the same process to fill what’s left of Crist’s term.

The appointment must be made and approved by the county board within 60 days.

The appointed person then will have to run for election immediately for the November 2010 election.

“(The person) almost has to run before appointed,” McMahon said. “This is kind of a strange deal.”

The election petition filing dates for the Feb. 2, 2010, primary election for the supervisor of assessments seat is Oct. 26-Nov. 2.

In his press release, Crist said, “I am grateful and honored that the governor has selected me for this important position. I am saddened to leave my post as an elected county official.”

Crist served on the county board from 1990-1998. He spent time on a number of different county committees during his tenure.

“Not only am I honored by the selection, but I’m very proud of the governor as he looked downstate for talent and abilities to assist his administration,” Crist said during a telephone interview Thursday night.

“I’m excited about it. I’m sad to have to leave my post as supervisor of assessments with the county. I’m sad on that hand and I’m excited about the challenges and opportunities that are before me.”

Crist added thanks to his team in the supervisor of assessments office for their courteous professionalism.

He also thanked all the individuals who worked as a team across party lines on the board of review’s, treasurer’s and county clerk’s offices, as well as his former county board members.

Commercial-News reporter Anna Herkamp contributed to this report.

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