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updated: 4/24/2013 5:34 PM

Kane Co. redefining 'emergency' hires

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An emergency that fueled the controversial creation of a new billing manager position in the Kane County Animal Control department may soon no longer be an emergency.

County board members are in the process of revising the county's hiring freeze policy. It is the first review since 2008, when the county required every hire to come before the county board for approval. But that guideline was skirted when Robert Sauceda, a political ally of county board Chairman Chris Lauzen, was hired as animal control billing manager.

After the fact, Lauzen said his decision to hire Sauceda was to address an emergency loss of revenue in animal control. Lauzen has since pushed for an exemption to the hiring freeze policy in the case of such emergencies.

But Wednesday, members of the county board's finance committee said an income dip doesn't meet their definition of an emergency.

"It seems almost inconceivable that the overall budget decrease would create such an emergency that you would have to hire somebody," said county board member Doug Sheflow.

Board member Becky Gillam agreed. She pushed for the deletion of the proposed changes that allow for a new hire to address financial problems.

"I certainly don't think that's an emergent need," she said.

Gillam also pushed for a definition of how long an emergency temporary hire should last. The committee settled on 45 days, allowing for the hiring to be reviewed by the county board within that time. Sauceda was hired on an undefined temporary basis in January at a salary of $52,000.

The full county board must still vote on any final changes to the hiring freeze.

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