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Kane County Board approves 5 percent raises

GENEVA – Nine Kane County directors will get a bump in their paychecks.

The Kane County Board on Tuesday voted 17-5 to award 5 percent raises to Brad Sauer, emergency communications; Mark VanKerkhoff, development and community services; Scott Berger, community reinvestment; Roger Fahnestock, chief information officer; Barb Jeffers, public health; Donald Bryant, emergency management; Mark Armstrong, assessments; Sheila McCraven, human resources; and Joe Onzick, finance.

Board members Mark Davoust, R-St. Charles, and Melisa Taylor, R-Sugar Grove, were absent.

According to information provided by Chairman Chris Lauzen, the increases themselves will cost almost $50,000. The total cost, however, is closer to $60,000 when including FICA and Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund costs.

Lauzen said the raises will better align the directors’ compensation with their counterparts in other nearby counties. He noted the directors had a pay freeze for four years before getting a 2 percent increase last year.

“We do have some catching up to do,” Lauzen said.

Maggie Auger, R-Algonquin; Cristina Castro, D-Elgin; Jennifer Laesch, D-Aurora; Doug Scheflow, R-Elgin; and Barb Wojnicki, R-Campton Hills; voted against the raises.

Laesch, along with others, said her dissent wasn’t a reflection of the employees’ performance.

“The timing is wrong,” Laesch said.

Mike Donahue, R-Geneva, disagreed. He said the board just approved allocating $9.7 million in excess revenue to fund anticipated and unanticipated needs. The five-digit cost of the raises is nominal compared to the broader fiscal plan, he said.

“Now is a good time,” Donahue said.

Mike Kenyon, R-South Elgin, said he is “tight with a buck,” but the County Board is tasked with hiring the best people. He asked his colleagues if they would want to lose good directors.

“Vote for Kane County,” Kenyon said. “Vote for good leadership.”

Susan Starrett, R-Batavia, said the directors do their job well, and the county has the money to say thank you.

Lauzen thanked the board for its favorable vote, acknowledging the decision process could have fractured the board but did not.

“I appreciate your support,” he said.

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