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updated: 2/20/2014 5:07 PM

Kane Co. Board slowly warming to chairman's raise approach

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Two more raise proposals came forward from Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen Thursday, this time with dollar figures costing more than his previous three recommendations combined.

Board members, though ever more receptive of Lauzen's plan, continued to push for an overall view of the cost of the raises.

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Lauzen pitched a 5 percent raise for Roger Fahnestock, boosting the salary of county's executive director of information technology to about $142,000. The total added budget cost, including benefits, is about $8,000.

It would be the first pay boost Lauzen has pitched elevating a current salary beyond the average for employees in neighboring counties serving similar roles. Lauzen's research pegged that average cost at about $132,000.

Members of the county board's administrative committee had no problem with the pay bump, given Fahnestock's quality of work.

"I would say he walks on water, and he probably flies like Superman," county board member Phil Lewis said of Fahnestock's leadership.

The praise was also emphatic for Kane County Supervisor of Assessments Mark Armstrong when Lauzen recommended a 7 percent raise, to $116,000, higher than the $111,000 average salary among comparable counties, as researched by Lauzen.

Armstrong's salary must be set by a specific resolution by the full board. Because of that, he missed out on the general 2 percent raise county staff members received last year. Lauzen advocated giving Armstrong a 5 percent raise plus the 2 percent he should have received last year.

Armstrong's pay and benefits boost would add $9,125 to the county budget.

The two new proposals bring the total combined cost of the five director-level raises currently on the table to about $33,000.

There are nine total director positions in the county. Though county board members have asked Lauzen for the overall cost of whatever raises he wants, and how those costs fit into the overall budget, he continued to refuse to share that information Thursday.

"Just like every other resolution, you deal with a specific request," Lauzen said. "This is what we've requested through board action. It's what is in the ordinance. Therefore, we are doing it."

Lauzen said he will present the overall costs before a final vote on all the raises.

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