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Lauzen: Sauceda will prove himself

Published: Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

The Kane County Chronicle editorializes, “Even if [Rob] Sauceda were the best candidate for that job, [Chris] Lauzen should understand it’s questionable for him to seek to fill the spot with a political supporter of his.” I accept the paper’s skepticism, but reject its and Mike Kenyon’s assertion that his former primary challenger Rob Sauceda is not a good choice for the position of temporarily collecting the bills at the animal control shelter.

Just one pleasant year ago, the Chronicle endorsed my opponent in the important primary for the Kane County Board chairman race. However, we went on to win that contest with 70 percent of the vote. I am delighted to have literally tens of thousands of “political supporters.”

I hope that the more than 2,800 voters and their families who put up yard signs as “political supporters” are not automatically disqualified from helping me now that we are putting in place needed management and ethics reforms. Did you notice that there were no laudatory editorials when I appointed supporters of my opponent (who had contributed thousands of dollars to beat us) or even five elected Democrats to important Kane County Board chairmanships? I did not see that balance in reporting and opinion.

Over the objections of some of my political supporters, I appointed political opponents because I believe that they are the most competent to fill the roles to serve our mutual constituents. Likewise, this is my firm assessment regarding Rob Sauceda.

Perhaps the Chronicle editorial board has forgotten that those whom they quote who criticize my selection were part of the decisions at animal control that resulted in three humiliating failures. Mike Kenyon, who – with his family – has sold millions of dollars worth of land to government units both before and during his tenure as a County Board member, supported the most recent selection for director before this one that resulted in a $45,000 loss that had to be subsidized by taxpayers and a default on last year’s $93,000 mortgage payment. We will need to double-up on that payment later on in this year, with Rob’s help.

This is the sad context of the Chronicle’s criticism.

I am proud of my three- to four-year friendship with Rob Sauceda and his family. I am deeply grateful for Rob’s and tens of thousands of voters’ “political support.” I appreciate that Rob and his family have contributed a grand total of $205 to bring 10 to 15 people to three of our annual Fay’s Pork Chop picnics. This is hardly pay-to-play cronyism.

Nine months from now, when the results are in from the animal control billing collection process, I will ask the Chronicle editorial board to retract their premature judgment – or I will apologize to you all for my management error. Results matter.

• Chris Lauzen is chairman of the Kane County Board. He also is a former state senator.

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