Mike Kenyon, the incumbent in Kane County's 16th District board race, said his competitor, Robert Sauceda, made an "empty promise" when he pledged to reduce the county government's membership.
During a Daily Herald endorsement interview, Sauceda said that if elected, he would support cutting the board's membership to 18 members, while Kenyon wanted to leave it as is. Both men are seeking the Republican nod in the March primary.
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There are 26 members on the board, and once redistricting goes into effect in November, there will be 24.
Kenyon, 67, points to a section of the Illinois statute that says the board can only change its membership during the U.S. Census. The 2010 Census prompted last year's redistricting and, pointing to the economy, members agreed to a smaller board.
"I'm not really picking on (Sauceda), I'm just saying that (Sauceda) makes a promise and it sounds good," said Kenyon, who is seeking his third term on the board.
" ... Somebody will say something without knowing what they can do. We can't change the size of the board now for 10 years."
"I am aware of the decennial opportunity to change the size," said Ken Menzel, deputy general counsel for the Illinois State Board of Elections. "I'm not aware of any other provision that would allow it to be done at another time."
The statute -- 55 ILCS 5/2-3002 -- applies to counties with less than 3 million residents. The county board cannot have fewer than 5 nor more than 29 members.
Upon further review, Sauceda, 28, acknowledged his error. "I'm going to live within the laws of the state of Illinois and Kane County, but my philosophy is smaller government is better for everybody," Sauceda said. "If that means we can't shrink the board today, we can't, but I will be working to make our government smaller and effective."
He said he would do this by meeting with department heads on reducing waste and streamlining the way they operate to save money.
The 16th District includes parts of Elgin and South Elgin.