County appoints new sheriff, state's attorney

ELIZABETHTOWN, IL (KFVS) - A death of one and the resignation of another elected official left Hardin County with a couple vacancies in public offices.

Sheriff Lloyd "Smokey" Cullison passed away last month after a brief illness, and Hardin County State's Attorney, Roger Ralph handed in his resignation for personal reasons. That left two powerful county offices empty.

Wednesday, county commissioners named temporary replacements.

Joyce Cullison, the former sheriff's widow, was appointed to finish out her husband's term. In accepting the appointment, she vows to carry on her husband's work.

"I'm not Smokey, but we want to run the department the way he set it up," said Sheriff Joyce Cullison.

Joyce Cullison worked as an office administrator under her husband and the sheriff before that. Years prior she was a jailer. Always by her husband's side.

"It was great," Joyce Cullison said. "I had a great marriage with him. Our work was in common and we did so much together."

She intends to finish out her husband's term by fulfilling his goals for the people who elected him.

"Smokey put the people first," said Joyce Cullison. "Our main goal is to serve and protect the people. We're not here for the position, but here to help the people. Those were his goals, and they come first."

"Everyone's real excited to move forward and do the things Smokey wanted done, at least for the next nine months," said Chief Deputy Tom Maynor.

Attorney Melissa Pressor will fill the vacant position of Hardin county state's attorney. She was named by out-going State's Attorney Roger Ralph as a suitable replacement, and the county board approved the appointment.

Ironically the SIU Law graduate is currently running for state's attorney in neighboring Pope County. But for the time being she intends to prosecute anyone the new sheriff arrests.

"I guess it's a different set of events that's happened here, but I hope the sheriff and I will have a great working relationship," said Pressor. "Our goal is to do the best job we can from April 16 to December 1."

Pressor and Joyce Cullison will take their oaths of office Monday. Then, in the November election, voters will choose a new sheriff and a new state's attorney.

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