GENEVA – Robert Sauceda is among Kane County government's newest hires, taking over a position that County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen said needed to be filled urgently.
Sauceda has taken up a temporary position as a billing manager in the county's animal control department to collect unpaid bills. Lauzen said Sauceda officially was hired about three weeks ago and since has helped collect about $34,000 in unpaid bills.
Lauzen said three previous animal control directors, who have either resigned or been replaced, failed to collect those bills, which he said has resulted in expensive consequences for taxpayers. The lack of billing management caused the county to subsidize its animal control shelter for $45,000, he said, and the administration also missed a $93,000 mortgage payment.
He said for each month that goes by without depositing any money in the bank, the county falls behind by $70,000 to $75,000. He said that's one reason it was so important to hire a billing manager.
Some have criticized Lauzen for promoting the hiring of Sauceda, a former political supporter of Lauzen's. Three months earlier, Lauzen campaigned for county board chairman on getting rid of "cronyism" in the county.
"The critics, I didn't hear them criticizing when they were failing three times," Lauzen said. "And now we're off to a good start, and I hope that the critics don't damage our likelihood of achieving our budgeted revenue numbers."
He said it likely will take at least nine months before county leaders will know if they'll meet budgeted revenues. Until then, Lauzen said everyone should be focused on collecting the unpaid bills so past mistakes can be avoided.
"They didn't get the job done three times. Now, the next batter's at the plate and we need to be cheering him on, not criticizing," he said.