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Lauzen seeks new committees, deputy chairman

GENEVA – New Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen has put forward several proposals to put his own stamp on the County Board's structure.

Overseeing his first County Board meeting as chairman since winning election in November, Lauzen introduced rules changes Tuesday that would create the new position of deputy chairman and add two new committees to the board's roster of standing panels.

Lauzen also proposed altering county code to allow for the appointment of deputy committee chairmen and for some committees to have two co-chairmen.

While Lauzen introduced the measures to the full County Board, the board voted to send the proposed rules changes to the County Board's Executive Committee, a special panel made up of the chairmen of the board's various committees, for further discussion and action.

According to language presented Tuesday, Lauzen asked the board to create the position of deputy chairman, an entirely new office. The person selected for the position would be appointed by Lauzen, and essentially would act at the chairman's request to marshal support for issues and positions supported by the chairman.

The deputy chairman would also "take the place of the county board chairman at official ceremonies" that Lauzen otherwise would be unable to attend.

The deputy chairman would serve along with the board's vice chairman, who oversees county board operations when the County Board Chairman is not present.

The board Tuesday selected member Drew Frasz, R-Elburn, to serve as the new vice chair.

The deputy chairman job description presented Tuesday did not require the deputy chairman be a member of the county board, or even elected by the people, a fact pointed out and challenged by County Board member Phil Lewis, R-St. Charles.

"In the context of what that person (the deputy chairman) is doing, that person should be an elected official," Lewis said.

Lauzen, however, said his "intention" was for the deputy chairman to be "a member of this group (the county board)" and he said the ordinance would be changed to include language requiring that.

The board also will discuss in January adding two new committees – one focused on job creation and the other on agricultural issues – and a proposal to allow Lauzen to appoint co-chairmen on certain committees.

On a list of committee assignments made public Tuesday, Lauzen indicated his intent to appoint co-chairmen on both the new jobs committee and the legislative committee, which helps the county board form positions on state and federal legislation.

But since the rules changes need to first go to the executive committee, Lauzen opted to wait until January to impanel the legislative committee.

That decision appeared to anger at least one County Board member, Jesse Vazquez, D-Aurora, who Lauzen had slated as one of the co-chairmen of the legislative committee.

After the meeting, Vazquez said the decision would mean he would be shut out of the discussion on the rules changes at the executive committee – changes that he said Lauzen intended to "slide under the door."

Following the meeting, Lauzen declined to take reporters' questions.

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