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Article posted: 10/5/2012 7:07 PM

Kane Dist. 18 candidates disagree on raises

Kerri Branson

Kerri Branson

 
Drew Frasz

Drew Frasz

 
 1 of 2 
 
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Kane County employees are not entitled to a raise in this tight economy, and Democrat Kerri Branson, who is challenging Drew Frasz for a county board seat, would not support a pay increase.

Branson and Frasz are running for a spot in District 18 that includes parts of Elburn, North Aurora, Kaneville and Maple Park.

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Branson, an artist from North Aurora who is starting her own gallery, made her comments this week during a Daily Herald endorsement session.

A Kane County Board committee had considered -- but has since cooled to the idea of -- raising the property tax levy and using that money to give raises to county employees.

Branson, 42, knows of many people, including her husband, who have not had pay increases in many years. To approve raises for county employees would not be the right message to send in this economy, she said.

"I'm not a big advocate for it, for the same reason there's so many other people right now that are on a pay freeze," Branson said. "Everybody's frozen, so why are they different from everybody else that's also frozen?"

She'd only consider changing her mind once the economy got better.

Frasz, self employed as an excavating contractor, would favor a 2 percent raise for all nonunion employees -- if it can be done without raising taxes.

The Elburn Republican pointed out that union employees still get raises, while those not in unions have had their pay frozen for at least four years.

"These people have basically been bearing the burden of the downturn in the economy since we've been there so I'm all for (a raise)," he said. "We'll know a lot more next March when our sales tax and property tax numbers come in."

The freeze has resulted in a revolving door of sorts among assistant state's attorneys, public defenders and IT personnel, with them staying in the county long enough to learn the job, before moving on to others that offer better pay, Frasz said.

"Turning over a lot of people at a lower wage costs more than paying them enough to keep them on board," Frasz said.

Frasz, 56, is seeking his second term on the county board. He now serves District 26, which was redrawn as District 18.

Branson has never held elected office and says she's running on her own merit.

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