2012 Election Profile: Ken Toftoy
Republican Ken Toftoy is seeking re-election as Kendall County Coroner.
Education: Newark HS. Completed Paramedic Certification at Waubonsee CC.480 Hours of continuing education at IL Law Enforcement Training Board in death investigations and other relevant subjects. Completed multiple other seminars and training as requirements, and best practices, of keeping curren tas a professional Coroner.
Previous elected or appointed positions:
- Kendall County Coroner since December 1991
- 34 years of fire service to Kendall County with 17 years as a paramedic/firefighter duties to Oswego Fire District
- Member of the Illinois Coroners and Medical Examiner's Association for 18 years, president in 2002
- International Coroner's and Medical Examiner's Association
- Member of the Tri-County Elderly Abuse Prevention Council
- Illinois Sheriff's Association
- Illinois Police Association
- Illinois Fire Chief's Association
- Kendall County FOP Lodge 49
- Kendall County Chiefs of Police
- Aurora Shriner's Club
- Mason's Lodge 303
- Chairman of the Kendall County Republican Central Committee
- Precinct Committeeman for numerous years of Kendall 3
1) Why do you want to be coroner?
My passion has always been to help families in need at times of crisis. Whether as a firefighter/paramedic, where I started my career in service, or as your Coroner since 1992, that has been what motivates me. With your support, I want to use the next four years, of the final term that I will run for, to complete the work we have started in this office. First, I will complete efforts to establish disaster response plans, on a regional basis, with other Coroner's offices. Second, I will enhance our death prevention efforts by adding even more time and support to suicide prevention, DUI avoidance, awareness of texting and distracted driving dangers, and fighting drug abuse problems. Third, I will take a scapel to our already lean $152K a year office budget and see where we can maintain that budget level while providing the 24 hour/365 day service that this type of office requires.
2) What experience do you have interacting with grieving families? What would your approach be to working with families who have lost a loved one?
I am not someone who has sympathy for families, just feeling sorry for them. I am someone with empathy, who grieves and often cries with them. You learn the difference between sympathy and empathy when you walk in their shoes. In 1992, when I was first running for Coroner, I learned this first hand. I was leaving from a community event with my Dad, Orrin, and was following him home on Highway 71. A drunk driver crossed the center line and struck his car head on. Despite my best efforts I was unable to save the life of my hero, the man who had given me life. A day does not go by, when I am helping families deal with their loss, that I don't think of how hard it was to lose my dad in a tragic accident.
It does not matter what day of the week, hour of the day, or time of the year. The Kendall County Coroner's office, and the team of dedicated and professional deputies I have put together, are ready to stand beside the families and provide them the resources and information they need to handle difficult decisions and grief. This includes providing the names of dedicated clergy and pastors, of various denominations and faiths, to anyone seeking spiritual support.
3) How would you characterize the current management style in the coroner’s office? What changes, if any, do you think should be made in the next four years?
My management style is to put qualified and dedicated people in place and allow them to perform their jobs without micromanaging. I make myself available to fill in for staff and assist staff often and whenever needed. I traditionally handle a lot of the holiday calls so some of my younger staff, with families, can be with their children at Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving.
Over the next four years we will continue to work under a lean budget and see where we can cut expenses. We have recently adopted a daily per diem system for out of county travel. This way, when we are at state mandated training conferences for continuing education, each employee, including myself, has a set amount of dollars to cover their meals for the day. This number is based on the average costs of the particular city we are in. So if someone wants a chocolate bar and a diet Pepsi for lunch and a nicer dinner they can do so as long as the total costs are under the per diem amounts. So the days of gadflys and voyeurs looking at every person's meal receipts are gone and a fair, easy to keep track of system, is in place. This will benefit the taxpayers.