An appellate court resuscitated a lawsuit against Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay this week by saying a lower court improperly dismissed the suit.
Jim MacRunnels, a political rival of McConnaughay's, filed the lawsuit last year. The suit claims McConnaughay doled out raises to 13 high-level employees without the consent or knowledge of county board members. McConnaughay has repeatedly defended the salary increases as part of restructuring of the county administration that consolidated departments and heaped more responsibilities on the employees who received the pay bumps. She's also said the county board gave permission for the raises in approving the county budgets.
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A lower court dismissed the suit last April. The court ruled that there is no county law mandating McConnaughay to specifically bring all issues regarding raises or employee salary levels for review by the county board, and there is no prescribed consequences for violating such a mandate even if it did exist. The appellate court ruled this week that there actually is a county law that mandates county board review of the pay increases and sent the matter back to the lower court.
The case may not stay there. In an interview, MacRunnels said he plans on asking for a change of venue that would take the case outside of a Kane County courtroom. He also plans on filing a motion to make McConnaughay pay the costs of her representation from her own pocketbook rather than use taxpayer dollars for the defense.
"That's what she wanted to do with (Kane County Coroner) Chuck West and his case," MacRunnels said. "I don't see how this is any different."
West faces criminal charges of stealing a TV from a dead man's home.