Winnebago County Coroner locked out of office, denied access to building

This comes days after the County Board approved a resolution last week that asks Hintz to resign or go on leave.
Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 12:25 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Winnebago County Coroner Bill Hintz will not be allowed back in his office or have access to his official email account after County Board Chairman Joe Chiarelli takes action against the embattled elected official.

This comes days after the County Board approved a resolution asking Hintz to resign or go on leave pending the outcome of the criminal trial. Following their resolution, the Chairman’s Office and Sheriff’s Office announced they would have more employees to assist those who work in the Coroner’s Office.

“We have a duty to maintain the integrity of the Coroner’s Office and protect the citizens of Winnebago County while Mr. Hintz’s criminal cases are pending,” Chairman Chiarelli says.

According to Chiarelli, Hintz can go through the County Clerk’s office to do any personal business he may have with the county other than his coroner’s duties. Chiarelli says the board consulted with the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office and Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office before taking this action.

“The criminal allegations against Mr. Hintz are in no way a reflection on any of the other employees that remain in that office. I’m committed to assisting with the leadership needs of the Coroner’s Office for as long as it takes for criminal cases against Mr. Hintz to be resolved,” Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana said.

Chairman Chiarelli says county leaders are in the process of stabilizing and protecting the integrity of the office and its employees. He adds they have a duty to the citizens of Winnebago County and the families with loved ones coming through the Coroner’s Office.

Back in October 2020, Hintz pleaded not guilty to theft, forgery and official misconduct. He is scheduled to be in court on September 22 for additional theft charges.

Hintz’s charges are accusations and he is considered innocent unless he is proven guilty in a court of law.

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