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Kane County Board sidesteps talks on hiring rules

GENEVA – The County Board has put off any discussion surrounding the county’s hiring freeze, and particularly, which county hires would be subject to review under the policy.

Earlier this month, the County Board appeared poised to launch a re-evaluation of the county’s hiring policies in some departments.

The discussion came after the hiring of Robert Sauceda, a political ally of County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen, as a temporary billing manager at the county’s Animal Control Department.

Some County Board members have said they want to know whether the hiring of temporary, seasonal or part-time employees is subject to review under the provisions of the hiring freeze.

While County Board members have made efforts to avoid mentioning Sauceda or the Animal Control Department by name, their public inquiries followed Sauceda’s hiring, which was not submitted to the board for review or a vote.

The evaluation of the county’s hiring policies began last week, at the County Board’s Human Services Committee, and the discussion was to continue at the board’s Finance Committee on Wednesday.

The freeze was implemented in 2008 in response to county financial difficulties linked to the Great Recession. The ordinance allowed county department directors to hire to fill vacancies and for hiring in emergency situations.

The ordinance also required the County Board to review the policy every six months – a stipulation previously overlooked by the board. But the ordinance also does not expressly require county department heads to receive explicit approval from the County Board to hire temporary, seasonal or part-time workers.

At the Human Services Committee meeting Feb. 21, a representative of the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office told committee members that such hires would be subject to the hiring freeze, County Board members said.

County Board members have said they would like to address the “ambiguity” concerning that question in the ordinance. However, when the discussion arrived at the Finance Committee on Wednesday, committee members shied away from such discussion.

Instead, committee members restated their belief that the hiring freeze should be reviewed again in six months, as required by the ordinance.

County Board member John Hoscheit, R-St. Charles, chairman of the Finance Committee, said the committee could take up discussion on proposed changes to the hiring freeze ordinance at later committee meetings, perhaps as soon as the next meeting, scheduled for March 27.

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