Longtime Winnebago County coroner gets vote of no-confidence following sexual harassment complaints

Local News

The Winnebago County Coroner Barry Busby, 72, is being asked to resign after multiple complaints against him. These range from sexual harassment to absenteeism.

The county’s Judiciary and Public Safety Committee reached a unanimous vote of no-confidence.

“I filed a complaint with Winnebago County Human Resources in 2011 for sexual harassment,” said Donna Francart, the former Winnebago County deputy coroner.

She was fired in 2015 and, that same year, filed a complaint for discrimination.

“I believe that the public needs to know everything that has been happening,” she said. “That has happened.”

The committee came out of a nearly hour-long closed session with a resolution.
It states that Busby does not deny some of these sexual harassment allegations. And the county cannot fire the coroner. It can only urge his resignation.

“It’s a way to put some pressure on him to resign, quite frankly,” said Bill Wingren, chair of the judiciary committee.

Outside of resignation, only the governor has the power to replace him. Another option is a recall election which would not be held until January 3, 2020.

“We do not accept the kind of behavior that’s been demonstrated by the county coroner who was duly elected by the people to do a job and is not doing it,” said Wingren.

Busby is also accused of absenteeism over the past few months.
He did not want to talk on camera, but told Local 5’s John Domol that he took a much-needed medical leave to treat what he believes is PTSD caused by the job.

“I know nothing of it, so do I think that he would do that? I really don’t,” said Busby’s assistant, Kimberly Maki.

Busby told Local 5 that legal action against the county is a possibility. And if the county pays for his removal, then he will step down.

“On the flip side, though, am I discrediting any of the females? I don’t want to do that, either,” she said. “It’s a very tough position for me to be in.”

Winnebago County plans to address the Busby investigation at the board meeting next Tuesday.

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