PEORIA — There will not be a new sheriff in town Thursday when longtime officeholder Mike McCoy resigns to become Washington police chief.

Or, rather, the person initially taking over for him will hold that title with an "interim" label only.

That's because Peoria County Board Chairman Andrew Rand has decided to solicit applications before settling on someone to officially take the reins until the end of McCoy's term in December 2018.

That's the same process he has followed when vacancies occurred in the offices of treasurer, auditor and recorder of deeds, and a reversal of his previous plan.

Rand had previously indicated that he expected to recommend a candidate to replace McCoy at a special board meeting Tuesday.

But he said Monday that after some consideration he decided that the application-review-nomination-vote process had worked well in the two and a half years he has served as board chairman.

"We've done that three times. I think each time it has produced the right result," he said, explaining his change of heart after thinking that a larger office like the sheriff might be treated differently because of the number of staff and the wide range of job responsibilities.

In the meantime, state law provides for someone designated by the sheriff to take over in cases of incapacity or vacancy in the office. That will be jail superintendent Brian Asbell, who after assuming the interim title is also expected to be among those applying to fill the post permanently.

Applicants will be able to submit their resumes after the vacancy becomes official Thursday, and will be vetted by a bipartisan group.

In this case, resumes will be reviewed by Rand — a Democrat — and two members of McCoy's Republican Party on the board, Stephen Morris and Jim Fennell. They'll have 60 days after the board officially acknowledges the vacancy at its July 13 meeting to reach consensus on a replacement for Rand to recommend to the board.

The replacement must be a Peoria County resident and, like McCoy, a Republican. Rand said he will be looking for someone with experience in law enforcement, management of personnel — particularly in an organization with a minimum of 50 to 100 employees — as well as collective bargaining and all the relevant law enforcement certifications.

The sheriff is up for election in 2018. If appointed, Asbell is expected to seek the seat. On the Democratic side, longtime Bartonville police Chief Brian Fengel has said he intends to seek the position and Illinois Central College board member and ELITE program director Carl Cannon has said he is weighing a run.

Chris Kaergard covers politics and government. He can be reached at ckaergard@pjstar.com or 686-3255. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisKaergard.