Kane County chair calls pay raise lawsuit a ‘political stunt’

The legal jockeying continued Monday in a lawsuit filed by a former Kane County Board chairman candidate against County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay, arguing she improperly gave raises to 13 county employees two years ago.

Meanwhile, McConnaughay has called the suit part of a “political stunt” by an election loser who still harbors a vendetta.

William King, attorney for James MacRunnels, who unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination for chairman several years ago, said he plans to object to having a private law firm appointed to represent McConnaughay.

The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office has said it has a conflict of interest in the case, in which MacRunnels accuses McConnaughay of doling out raises to 13 employees, many of them department heads.

The lawsuit was filed in late 2010, dismissed by a judge, but reinstated earlier this year by an appellate court.

King said is not asking the court to take back the raises, which MacRunnels claims will cost taxpayers $20 million. Rather, King wants McConnaughay to admit she made a mistake in issuing the raises and promise not to issue more before her term as chairman ends in December.

“Win or lose, someone has to stand up for the taxpayers,” King said.

McConnaughay is not seeking another term; she is the GOP candidate for the 33rd state senate seat in November.

Both sides are due in court again Aug. 20.

Last week, members of the county board’s Executive Committee passed a resolution aimed at eliminating the basis for MacRunnels’ suit. The resolution said committee members are aware of the raises and the process used to dole out the salary increases.

McConnaughay has defended her actions, saying they were legal and part of county practice for decades. Monday, she reiterated that she and the county board “acted appropriately” and that MacRunnels’ lawsuit amounted to nothing more than a “political stunts and games.”

“I will not apologize for something that was done appropriately,” McConnaughay said. “His shameful actions are not helping the taxpayers. It is part of a political game that has been brought forward by a person who lost in the previous election who still has a vendetta.”

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