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Kane board shelves Lauzen's deputy chairman idea

Published: Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013 4:26 p.m. CDT

GENEVA – The Kane County Board has shelved plans to change its leadership structure to add the position of deputy chairman, as had been sought by new Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen.

Thursday, Lauzen effectively withdrew the proposal, telling the County Board's 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 creation of a deputy board chairman in December, shortly after he took office as County Board chairman.

In a proposed amendment to the county's ordinances, Lauzen had 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. The deputy chairman's responsibilities would have included acting at the chairman's request to marshal support for issues and positions supported by the County Board chairman.

The deputy chairman would also "take the place of the County Board chairman at official ceremonies" Lauzen count not attend.

The idea, however, ran into opposition from some on the County Board who either desired assurances that the proposal would not bring partisan politics to the board or who questioned whether the proposal would only create more problems than it might solve.

County Board member Mark Davoust, R-St. Charles, was most 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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