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Our View: Qualified leader needed for Kane County Animal Control

Published: Friday, May 16, 2014 11:35 p.m. CDT

Wanted: An administrator for Kane County Animal Control.

Minimum requirements: Experience in local, state or federal government; proficiency in oral and written communication; three years of experience in providing animal control programs or services, or a closely related public or community health program or service; and a master’s degree in business management or a bachelor’s degree in public administration or related field. 

Surely there must be a man or woman out there qualified to fill the administrator position for Kane County Animal Control.

Surely our county leaders won’t again bypass the opportunity to hire a highly qualified candidate for someone who had political connections and might not necessarily be as qualified as others.

Case in point, the Kane County Chronicle editorialized in February 2013 that – considering Chairman Chris Lauzen had campaigned against what he had called “cronyism” in Kane County government – it was puzzling that the chairman would seek a position within Animal Control for political supporter Robert Sauceda, who had listed experience as an insurance agent and sales manager. 

Sauceda at that time was being considered for a billing manager position with Animal Control. That was only after Lauzen originally sought to hire Sauceda to lead the department but withdrew his nomination after County Board members didn’t support the idea. 

We wrote at the time that “ ... even if Sauceda were the best candidate for [the billing manager] job, Lauzen should understand it’s questionable for him to seek to fill the spot with a political supporter of his. ... In filling the billing manager position, Lauzen would be wise to consider those who are adequately qualified and not tied to him politically.”

Of course, the Kane County Board ultimately approved Sauceda as interim Animal Control administrator in November, after he did spend time working as billing manager.

And Sauceda did see some success in the lead role – and in the role of billing manager –  improving department finances and helping lead an effort to move about 100 animals from an impounded petting zoo. 

But then he resigned May 7. Officials have said there was a personnel matter, and Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said Tuesday that there was a second employee involved, noting, “The situation is ongoing.”

Now, the county is again seeking someone to head a department that has undergone multiple changes in leadership in the span of a few years.

It’s time to hire the right person, and considering candidates with the appropriate background is a good place to start.

In a piece published in the Feb. 9, 2013, edition of the Chronicle, Lauzen wrote: “Nine months from now, when the results are in from the Animal Control billing collection process, I will ask the Chronicle editorial board to retract their premature judgment – or I will apologize to you all for my management error. Results matter.”

Perhaps no one could have anticipated the resignation of Sauceda so early into his role as interim administrator.

But the results now are that Animal Control is again left without a leader.

We’re calling on the Kane County Board to get the next hire right.

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