The man who is now temporarily in charge of investigating suspicious deaths in Kane County recently wrapped up 24 years of fighting crime in Sugar Grove.
Brad Sauer is the acting Kane County Coroner following a unanimous vote Tuesday confirming the selection by Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay. Sauer, the longtime Sugar Grove police chief, retired in July.
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In describing why she selected Sauer over nine other applicants, McConnaughay planted a seed in voters' minds for the November election.
"I see it as clearly a law enforcement position," McConnaughay said. "State statute says if anything happens to the sheriff it is the coroner who steps into that position. That clearly indicates to me that it is a law enforcement position. So I wanted someone who had a law enforcement background but also an administrative background. He understands both."
Of the two candidates running for the permanent coroner position in November, only McConnaughay's fellow Republican, Rob Russell, has a law enforcement background. He currently works for the DuPage County Sheriff's Office. The Democrat, Tao Martinez, is the president and founder of a company that handles infection control of hazardous environments, including death scenes.
Sauer doesn't only bring a law enforcement background to the table. He also served as president of the Kane County Forest Preserve District for two years. That was at a time before the district had a full-time administrator to run the day-to-day operations. Sauer was also a member of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert's Agriculture Advisory Committee for 15 years. Hastert has been a political supporter of McConnaughay's. Sauer also served as a Kane County Board member. Sauer took over an open seat in 1990, winning a four-year term in 1992. His six years of service did not vest him in the pension Kane County Board members are eligible for after eight years of service. During his tenure on the board, Sauer voted to increase the salary of the coroner's position from $56,000 to $60,000. Since that time, the salary for the coroner has gone up to $88,214, not including health and dental benefits. Sauer will serve until a new coroner is seated following the November election. At roughly four months of service, he will earn about $29,405. Sauer said he will not accept any pension escalation available to him in his role as coroner.
Sauer said he applied for the job because he was looking for another opening in public service.
"It's an opportunity," Sauer said. "I was retired. It's one more chance to serve the people of Kane County. I enjoyed it while I was here for six years."
Sauer's appointment is effective immediately.