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County Board shelves deputy chairman proposal by Lauzen

GENEVA – The County Board has shelved plans to change its leadership structure to add the position of deputy chairman, which was sought by County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen.

Thursday, Lauzen effectively withdrew the proposal.

He told the County Board Administration Committee that he was “personally not interested in moving forward on it” any longer.

“We have big things to worry about,” Lauzen said. “If you want to take it off the agenda, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings in the least.”

Lauzen, an Aurora Republican, had proposed the deputy chairman in December, shortly after he took office.

In a proposed amendment to the county’s ordinances, Lauzen stated that the deputy chairman would be a member of the County Board appointed by the board chairman to a one-year term.

The deputy chairman would not have earned additional salary or benefits, and responsibilities would have included acting at the chairman’s request to marshal support for issues and positions.

The deputy chairman also would “take the place of the County Board chairman at official ceremonies” Lauzen could not attend.

The idea ran into opposition from members who either desired assurances that the proposal would not bring partisan politics to the board or questioned whether the proposal would create more problems than it might solve.

County Board member Mark Davoust, R-St. Charles, was outspoken against the proposal, saying he believed the position would correspond to the legislative position of “whip,” which is awarded to a partisan within Congress or a state legislature to secure support for the positions of party leadership.

With such concerns lingering, Lauzen said he did not desire for the issue to distract the County Board from tackling its “real mission,” which he said included dealing with home foreclosures and improving the local economy.

“I was hoping to get a little help from a second person,” Lauzen said.

But he said the deputy chairman proposal was “no big deal,” and suggested the committee table the proposal.

The administration committee voted 4-2 to set the proposal aside “indefinitely.”

County Board member Jesse Vazquez, D-Aurora, who was not on the committee but attended the meeting, thanked Lauzen for withdrawing the proposal.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Vazquez said. “He listened to the concerns of the board.”

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