Kane County Board members are poised to cast two votes with potential political undertones next week.
Changes to the long-standing county hiring freeze will come up for debate at the same time county board Chairman Chris Lauzen brings forward his first major list of political appointments.
County board members have debated changes to the hiring freeze policy ever since Lauzen cited several holes and inconsistent adherence to its requirements. Lauzen himself ran afoul of the policy in hiring political ally Robert Sauceda into a temporary billing manager position in the county's Animal Control agency.
The new changes would facilitate future "emergency" hirings, as Lauzen deemed Sauceda's employment at the time. The difference is that future emergency hires would be on a temporary 45-day employment agreement subject to the future approval by the county board. Department heads would also be able to fill vacancies, without any approval from the county board, if those positions are already covered in their department's budget.
Lauzen said he disagrees with some concerns offered by a couple of board members in recent weeks that disputed the need for emergency hirings. He said he anticipates support from the vast majority of board members, having addressed the few concerns on a one-on-one basis.
"There are emergencies in every operation, no matter how big or how small," Lauzen said. "The work has got to get done."
Getting the work done on smaller local boards and commissions will be the focus of the other major votes board members will cast next week. Lauzen said he expects to bring forward a large number of appointments for a vote. The list of bodies the appointees will serve on range from the Mill Creek Water Reclamation District board to Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning board.
Some of the positions are paid. Kane County Board of Review appointments receive an annual salary of $19,600. The board of review chairman receives $22,398. Those slots have been frequent landing spots in recent years for county board members voted out of office. Other appointed positions, such as the Upper Illinois River Valley Development Authority board of directors, do not receive a salary.
Lauzen will bring forward appointees for at least 27 boards and commissions next week.