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updated: 2/7/2013 8:06 AM

Kane County will give Jeffers control of health department

Kane County will give Jeffers control of health department

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After more than eight months of serving as the interim executive director of the Kane County Public Health Department, Barb Jeffers is officially in line to be named the full-fledged director next week.

Jeffers was the assistant director of administration when former Executive Director Paul Kuehnert resigned last June. Former Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay named Jeffers the interim director, believing it was pointless to conduct a full search for a replacement in the final months of her tenure. Jeffers received an $8,300 pay bump between June 4 and Nov. 30 under the terms of the interim appointment.

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During that time, she also took over the county's troubled Animal Control Department. She quickly found herself in charge of handling a request to defer two mortgage payments the agency owes taxpayers until 2014. That's an issue new Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen recently identified as a major problem he would rather see fixed this year.

Jeffers also investigated a rare fatal dog mauling of a Big Rock woman in November that put her firmly in the public spotlight for the first time. Her handling of the situation was publicly praised by several members of the county board's Public Health Committee.

Most recently, Jeffers, with the blessing of Lauzen, put forward the name of failed county board candidate Robert Sauceda to be the new director of Animal Control. When board members shot that appointment down, noting Sauceda's political ties to Lauzen, the chairman announced his blessing for Sauceda to be hired at animal control as the agency's debt collector. Jeffers said Wednesday her initial main focus will be getting new leadership for Animal Control in place. Other than that, she plans on continuing the long-held goals of the health department.

"We're going to continue our mission, which includes making sure residents have safe drinking water and keeping the rates of infectious diseases down," Jeffers said.

Jeffers will receive a salary of $109,386 as the executive director. That's a $16,687 pay bump from her previous role as assistant director for administration. Kuehnert was paid $131,325.

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