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Kane nears OK of new county government hiring policies

GENEVA – A proposal to revise Kane County’s hiring policies and give new control to the county’s various department heads will go to the full County Board for a vote.

The Kane County Board’s Executive Committee endorsed a series of changes Wednesday to the county’s ordinance governing Kane’s 5-year-old hiring freeze policy.

Under the latest revision, county department heads, such as those overseeing the county’s transportation division or the Kane County Development Department, would be granted powers to replace departed employees, at times without consulting the County Board.

Previously, the county’s hiring freeze rules – in place since 2008 – had required all county departments to submit their hires for review.

However, under the new proposed rules, county department heads would be empowered to hire, without formal board approval, to fill vacancies in pre-existing positions at the same salary or less.

Department heads also will be empowered to make “emergency” hires at their discretion. 

Information on new hires still would need to be submitted to the County Board within 45 days.

County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen said he believed concerns over the revisions were addressed either in discussions with county department heads or in changes to the ordinance’s language.

He particularly noted the general agreement over the need to allow emergency hires.

“There will always be emergencies no matter the organization,” Lauzen said.

The committee endorsed the measure unanimously, sending it to the full County Board for consideration Tuesday.

The County Board began reviewing its hiring policies earlier this year after some County Board members questioned whether the rules had been properly interpreted.

Those questions arose after the temporary hiring of a billing manager in the county’s Animal Control Department.

In recent days, Lauzen also has sought to hire a temporary community outreach coordinator, a position he believes is necessary to help the county improve relations with its residents and outside entities.

He said he does not believe the position needs to be submitted to the County Board for review, as it is, at this point, a temporary position, with a contract term of six months.

That potential hire has not yet been discussed by the County Board publicly.

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