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Kane poised to rewrite hiring rules, streamline process

GENEVA – Just a year after slapping on regulations to purposefully slow the process of hiring executives and doling out pay raises, the Kane County Board could move to again streamline the hiring process.

Tuesday, the Kane County Board’s Administration Committee recommended the full board sign off on a new hiring ordinance.

Under the proposal that cleared the committee, each time the county needed to hire a new department head, such as those overseeing the county’s Division of Transportation, Health Department, Development Department or other county offices, the County Board would work through a three-step hiring process.

First, all applications would be screened by a three-member task force that would include Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen, the director of the county’s human resources department and the chairman of the County Board committee to which the new department head would report.

Then, a short list of candidates would be forwarded to a five-member task force that would include the members of the previous task force, and two other members of the County Board, to conduct interviews.

Lauzen would use that panel’s advice to then nominate a finalist, which would be presented to the full County Board for a vote.

The matter arose as Lauzen and the board seek to replace Tim Harbaugh, the county’s outgoing executive director of the Department of Facilities, Development and Environmental Resources.

Lauzen asked the County Board to rewrite the county’s ordinance governing the hiring process because he said the current process is too unwieldy.

Under an ordinance approved last year, the County Board required all department head appointments and pay raises to go through several different County Board committees.

Those meetings would have been subject to disclosure under the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

That ordinance had been supported by some County Board members who later strongly backed Lauzen’s campaign.

They said the measure was needed to respond to concerns that former Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay had inappropriately doled out raises.

The new hiring rules under consideration would separate the hiring process from the salary increase review process.

That would allow the salary review process to remain open, while allowing the hiring process to proceed without triggering Open Meetings Act notification requirements, which County Board members said could slow the hiring process and endanger the ability of the board to confidentially review applicants.

Under the new process, the task force impaneled to interview candidates would include just few enough members of county committees to not trigger the Open Meetings requirements.

The committee said it would submit the new ordinance proposal to the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office for review.

Should it pass that review, the measure would next go to the County Board’s Executive Committee for further discussion Nov. 6.

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