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updated: 2/11/2014 7:48 PM

Kane board votes to continue outreach program

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The Kane County Board Tuesday voted 17-4 to approve using $81,000 in contingency funds to pay for Chairman Chris Lauzen's social media/community outreach program.

District 14 board member Mark Davoust said Lauzen hasn't produced any definitions of the role of the community outreach coordinators, nor provided any "measurable parameters" to gauge their success. All he sees so far, he said, is that the Kane County Connected Facebook page has 1,000 likes.

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"It seems to be a very expensive approach to something," Davoust said.

Lauzen pointed out the program includes a proposed junior county board, consisting of teenagers and college students. He said he had asked board members to seek members, and asked Davoust if he had brought any forward.

Davoust said he "put feelers out," but there was no interest.

Tuesday's resolution called for releasing $81,000 of riverboat fund money for salaries and benefits for fiscal year 2014, which began Dec. 1. When Lauzen started the program seven months ago, two coordinators were hired as contractors at a cost of $64,000.

They have since quit. Lauzen said one, Cheryl Maraffio, resigned because she couldn't meet his standards regarding the junior county board project. But Maraffio told the board, via letter, she resigned because of a lack of professional courtesy and respect shown to her, including questioning of her commitment to Kane County.

Lauzen has not announced replacements. Rick Nagel, a former Patch editor, has posted on his personal Facebook page he has been contracted as a coordinator.

Board members Jesse Vazquez and Mike Donahue voted against the resolution because the money comes from the riverboat fund.

"I still think it is the wrong thing to do to take money out of the riverboat fund to do operational needs," Vazquez said.

The money, which comes from the profits of the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, is supposed to be used on items that improve the county's education, environment and economic development. The fund's rules discourage spending on operating expenses.

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