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Kane to revisit whether animal control director should be vet

Published: Friday, June 8, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

GENEVA – Kane County could change the kind of applicant it is seeking to head its animal control operations.

And that may dampen hopes for a quick replacement to lead the county’s troubled animal control department.

Last month, the position of administrator of the Kane County Animal Control Department became open when former administrator Kim Rudloff resigned after about three months on the job.

That resignation brought more turmoil to the department, which endured a string of controversies dating to early 2011, when former department director Mary Lawrie was placed on leave over concerns related to her management of the operations.

After a year under interim leadership, the county hired Rudloff in January, and she assumed her duties in February before resigning in May.

Rudloff was selected because the County Board believed she best fit the job criteria, including experience and skill in administration and veterinary medicine.

Outgoing Kane County Health Department Executive Director Paul Kuehnert recommended the County Board select someone from among the six other qualified applicants alongside Rudloff.

But a County Board subcommittee, acting on instructions from Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay, appears poised to set aside that recommendation and restart the hiring process.

County Board member Melisa Taylor, R-Sugar Grove, said she hopes restarting the process will result in a greater number of applicants.

“When you only have seven applicants, in this economy, for a job that pays that much, I don’t believe the search was done as thoroughly as it could’ve been,” Taylor said.

McConnaughay said the County Board may revisit the question of whether the animal control director needs to be a veterinarian and an administrator.

“That’s a difficult job description to fill,” McConnaughay said. “Not every veterinarian has administrative experience, and there are veterinarians who don’t want to hold an administrative position.

“It limits the field of potential applicants.”

She said the County Board could debate questions about the job description at its next meeting Tuesday.

“We have to look at all possibilities,” McConnaughay said.

County Board member Tom Van Cleave, R-Batavia, a member of the Animal Control Subcommittee, said such a broader search is best for the county to avoid any appearance of impropriety in selecting a new animal control director.

He said the rebooted job search process is not intended to dismiss any who applied previously.

“This gives them the opportunity to reapply, as well as any other qualified candidates,” Van Cleave said.

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