The days may be numbered for the most controversial hire in the early tenure of Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen.
An early version of the 2014 budget for the county public health department shows the elimination of Robert Sauceda as billing manager for the animal control department. Lauzen hired Sauceda, a 2012 running mate, for the unadvertised, temporary position in late January.
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Since then, Lauzen and health department Executive Director Barb Jeffers have made a point of showing Sauceda's bill collection efforts have fueled increased income for animal control. The agency is entirely supported by fees and receives no property tax dollars.
The primary source of income comes from pet registration tags. The total number of tags sold from December to June is 1,125 more than it sold during that same time frame last year.
Animal adoptions from the county's shelter are another revenue source, but both the number of animals taken in and pet adoptions are down despite aggressive social media marketing efforts.
The result is more income, but not enough to keep a billing manager position in the budget for next year, Jeffers said. Instead, she will try to fill the open animal control director's job.
"They need a full-time administrator," Jeffers said. "My primary goal with the billing manager was to make sure the funding for the department was secure because it had begun to drop. The billing manager came in and made sure we were billing aggressively. I feel pretty confident we'll be able to sustain those efforts."
Sauceda's $52,000 salary has been paid out of the pool of money originally intended for a full-time director. The income boost Sauceda provided is enough to allow animal control to be self-sustaining and pay the money back to the county's capital and general funds that it owes for the construction of the shelter facility, Jeffers said. However, it isn't enough to do that, hire a director and keep the billing manager slot, she said. The county will begin seeking director candidates in the fall.
Lauzen initially recommended Sauceda to be the animal control director. It was only after the county board rejected that move that Lauzen directed Jeffers to hire Sauceda as the temporary billing manager. The pending budget, however, calls for an administrator/veterinarian, and Sauceda does not have veterinary qualifications on his resume,