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New era gets under way in Kane County

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 6:33 a.m. CDT

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GENEVA – Pledging to reduce the tax burden on Kane County residents and change the way the county does business, Chris Lauzen officially assumed the job as the chairman of the County Board.

Monday, standing before a County Board room packed with supporters, friends and family, Lauzen – a former Illinois state senator from Aurora – took the oath of office, repeating the words recited by Judy Brawka, chief judge of the 16th Judicial Circuit.

“We begin work today, together,” Lauzen said.

Before administering the oath of office to Lauzen, Brawka also administered the oath to each of the 24 members of the Kane County Board and several elected county officials, including new Circuit Clerk Thomas Hartwell, State’s Attorney Joe McMahon, Auditor Terry Hunt, Recorder Sandy Wegman and Regional Superintendent of Schools Patricia Dal Santo.

Newly elected Coroner Rob Russell of South Elgin took the oath of office at a separate ceremony Monday afternoon.

The roster of County Board members sworn into office included a number of newcomers, including Susan Starrett, R-Batavia, and Theresa Barreiro, D-Aurora, who represents North Aurora.

Local incumbents Mike Donahue, R-Geneva; Mike Kenyon, R-South Elgin; Drew Frasz, R-Elburn; Mark Davoust, R-St. Charles; John Hoscheit, R-St. Charles; Phil Lewis, R-St. Charles; and Barbara Wojnicki, R-Campton Hills, also took the oath.

The ceremony capped off a year of campaigning for Lauzen, who had run to succeed Karen McConnaughay of St. Charles as the county’s chief executive.

After McConnaughay opted to seek election to the Illinois Senate rather than a third term as County Board chairman, Lauzen defeated Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns in the Republican primary in spring and followed that win by besting former St. Charles Mayor Sue Klinkhamer in the November general election.

Lauzen campaigned on pledges to freeze the county’s property tax levy and to rid the county of what he called corruption and “cronyism,” much of which he blamed on McConnaughay and her supporters in county government.

Monday, in remarks to the board and those gathered for the ceremony, Lauzen repeated those pledges, saying he intended to make the county government “known for saving its people money.”

He also urged the board to work with him to lift morale for county government workers and to reform county government.

“Today, we begin again,” Lauzen said. “And we are all reformers now.”

After the meeting, Lauzen said he intended to reorganize the County Board at its next meeting Dec. 11, when he will announce his selections for chairmen of various County Board committees.

Particular County Board committee assignments will be made at another time, Lauzen said.

In his remarks, Lauzen asked four things of County Board members: to “do a good job” on their various committees overseeing aspects of county government; conducting themselves in “moderation and balance,” absent of personal and political ambition; treating each other respectfully; and he promised to “never press [board members] to vote yes on something [they] don’t believe in, if they would agree to “give me the benefit of the doubt” on matters they may not feel strongly about.

“Let’s have some fun and do some good for our neighbors,” Lauzen said.

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