Key ruling in Kane County pay raise suit coming in November

Posted9/4/2012 6:03 PM
  • Karen McConnaughay

    Karen McConnaughay

  • Jim MacRunnels

    Jim MacRunnels

A decision on whether Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay improperly gave 14 county employees raises won't come until after the Nov. 6 election.

Kane County Judge Thomas Mueller will hear arguments Nov. 13 on whether to issue a summary judgment -- basically a decision by a judge based on the law and without a full trial -- in favor of McConnaughay.

McConnaughay's lawyers submitted a motion asking a judge to rule in her favor, arguing that plaintiff Jim MacRunnels' lawsuit is deficient and moot, according to court records.

"The complaint challenges budget decisions made in fiscal years that have closed and seeks to enjoin Chairman McConnaughay from future actions on salaries. Plaintiff's claims thus are moot and most obviously because Chairman McConnaughay will no longer be chairman, fall under neither of the exception(s) to mootness," wrote McConnaughay's attorney Claudette Miller.

McConnaughay is not seeking another term; she is the GOP nominee to run for the 33rd District State Senate seat and could be a senator-elect by the time Mueller hears the matter.

The move by Miller is the latest salvo in the suit, which was filed by MacRunnels, an Elburn resident who unsuccessfully ran against McConnaughay for the GOP nomination for county board chairman in 2008.

In the suit, MacRunnels argues that McConnaughay improperly gave raises to 14 county employees. He is not seeking to undo the raises, but wants McConnaughay to promise not to issue more before she leaves office in December.

The suit was filed in late 2010, thrown out by a judge in spring 2011 and then reinstated this spring by an appellate court panel.

William King, attorney for MacRunnels, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Miller also argues in court papers that the raises were: Approved by the county board's Executive Committee; part of a budget process followed by two predecessors; initiated by department heads; and that only three people actually got raises.

Two received raises of between $2,000 and $4,000 a year and a third person got a raise because of a promotion that carried more responsibility, according to court documents.

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