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Letter: A real bargain in Kane County

Published: Friday, March 28, 2014 9:27 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 4:26 p.m. CDT

To the Editor:

Thank you for the privilege of serving you and 515,000 other constituents in Kane County. We are trying to make it clear through the traditional press that any raises given any employees, including nine managers of 1,250 county employees, will come from savings gained in other areas. We should really celebrate that these raises will not cost you one cent more.  

When our county management team saves substantial amounts of money in one area and strengthens our collective financial position within a frozen property tax levy, we need your direct and indirect permission to reallocate some of those savings where they will benefit you the most. 

We have already saved you millions of taxpayer dollars in interest expense by refinancing bond debt; payroll and contractor expenses by eliminating lobbyists and public relations for the chairman’s office; and fringe benefit expenses by asking all of our employees to share more of the cost of health care insurance.

I promised to deliver “management best practices.” These include annual performance reviews for executive directors, terminating employment of any senior executives who are not performing “superior” work for you and your neighbors, but then also paying directors based on the merit of their performance in an open, transparent and board-participatory manner, prescribed by county ordinance at least the “average” of what their relative peer groups earn. It would be a terrible error in practical management judgment of being penny wise and pound foolish to do otherwise. You and I want our public employees focused on performance, not pay.

I will save as much as I can in other areas so that any of our actions cost you as little as possible.

In exchange for about a nickel on your property tax bill you are getting frozen county and forest preserve property tax levies (for three years in a row – since I announced my intention to run for chairman), spending that is less than our revenues, a strengthened county balance sheet, and fulfillment of our service and financial commitments to provide justice (courts), public safety (sheriff), public health (now nationally recognized and accredited), roads (constructed and cleared – no matter how much snow falls!), free and safe elections (county clerk) and much more.           

We are living within our means in all spending, including rank-and-file and director raises, without asking you for one penny more in property taxes.

Christopher J. Lauzen

Kane County Board chairman

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