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Kane County Board committee OKs deputy chairman

GENEVA – Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen is poised to win approval of a plan to change the structure of the County Board.

Thursday, the County Board Executive Committee voted, with little discussion, to send to the full County Board a proposal to create the position of deputy chairman.

The committee also sent to the board a proposal introduced by Lauzen to create two County Board committees and appoint co-chairmen on some committees.

According to language in the proposal to the committee, the deputy chairman – a new office – 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 also would “take the place of the county board chairman at official ceremonies” that Lauzen cannot attend and could work with the board’s vice chairman to oversee County Board operations when the County Board chairman is not present.

At an earlier County Board meeting in December, the deputy chairman proposal had prompted concern among County Board members, who noted that language in the proposal presented by Lauzen did not require the deputy chairman to be a member of the County Board or elected.

Lauzen pledged to add language to his proposal that would specifically require the deputy chairman be a County Board member, and repeated those assurances Thursday. However, in documents made available before Thursday’s meeting, the language had not been changed.

At the same time, the Executive Committee approved the creation of a committee focused on job creation and a committee for agricultural issues and the appointment of co-chairmen on some committees.

That proposal was questioned by County Board member Jesse Vazquez, D-Aurora, who had been selected in December to serve as co-chairman of the county’s Legislative Committee, alongside Maggie Auger, R-Algonquin.

Vazquez questioned how committees with two chairmen could function should the chairmen disagree on an issue. Lauzen, however, brushed aside those concerns, saying he believed co-chairmen from different political parties should be “bipartisan” and “get good work done” for the county.

He then announced he had withdrawn Vazquez’s nomination as co-chairman of the Legislative Committee, replacing him with County Board member Jennifer Laesch, D-Aurora.

The matters will return to the full County Board for consideration Tuesday.

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