David Rickert for Kane County Board chair
Financial struggle is nothing new for Kane County leaders. After years of austerity under the leadership of county board Chairman Christopher Lauzen, officials are accustomed to making do with tight budgets and limited resources.
But the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying projection of a $14 million deficit next year bring a whole new level of strain to the county's financial picture.
Staring down that crisis, and tasked with leading the county out of it, will be a new board chair. The at-times controversial, and frequently combative, Lauzen decided not to seek reelection this year. That leaves voters choosing between longtime county Treasurer David Rickert, a Republican from Elgin, and Democrat Corinne Pierog of Batavia as his successor.
Common ground is hard to find between the pair.
Pierog, a former St. Charles Unit District 303 school board, says hiring a county manager to oversee day-to-day operations would be among her chief priorities if elected. And she believes the county wasted an opportunity to boost revenues when the board banned recreational marijuana sales in unincorporated areas.
Rickert labeled those revenue opportunities "vice" and said that if's he's elected, his two decades of experience running the treasurer's office would make the hiring of a manager -- and the six-figure outlay it would require -- unnecessary.
We admire Pierog's embrace of social justice, and more so her recognition that social justice goes hand-in-hand with economic justice. And we believe she's right about some of the county's missed revenue opportunities.
But given the unprecedented challenges facing the county board, what it needs most is a chair with a strong financial background, ingrained knowledge of county operations and proven leadership ability.
In this race, that person is Rickert. He's guided the treasurer's office with a steady hand for two decades, formed solid relationships with county officials at all levels and built a reputation as a hardworking and competent administrator.
For those reasons, we endorse Rickert.