GENEVA – While two Democratic hopefuls for county board chair took some shots at Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen, he defended his record while not committing to seeking a third term.
Teamster Greg Elsbree and local business owner Corinne Pierog both criticized Lauzen when they announced they would seek the Democratic nomination to run for county board chairman in 2020.
“It’s still early for that,” Lauzen said in a voicemail message, referring to whether he would seek another term. “I have not decided yet, but I sure do like this work, though. And I really appreciate the people who I work with.”
Lauzen stated in the voicemail that he the job of chairman “is a privilege to serve and the job is to set and maintain high standards of service to the public.”
“We have an excellent team of 1,300 employees. We’ve been delivering high quality services for more than seven years, “ Lauzen stated. “We are spending less to provide at least the same or better service than in the past.”
Lauzen’s message noted that the difference between Kane County and neighboring counties is that board chairman “is a skilled position in Kane County.”
“Unlike the other counties surrounding, the elected chairman is also the chief administrator,” Lauzen said. “And that way, we save between $250,000 and $300,000 per year for taxpayers.”
When he announced his candidacy last month, Elsbree said he was inspired to run because of Lauzen’s behavior, in particular what he called disrespect for the county’s workers.
“This war on workers and families must end,” Elsbree had said. “This divisiveness among the chairman and the board must end. This bullying by the county board chairman must end. I’m ready to take up the challenge.”
Pierog, who declared her candidacy July 18, said the county’s leadership “must no longer be based on intimidation but rather facilitation, bringing our communities together for shared concerns and shared opportunities.”
Pierog said Lauzen’s management style is to be aggressive and insulting to board members “to the point they don’t even want to talk to him any more.”
Lauzen defended his management style by saying it’s gotten the results the county needs through property tax relief and paying off the county’s debts.
According to data Lauzen provided, his leadership led to $92.1 million in property tax relief from 2012 to 2019 through reducing the levy.
“In seven years, I don’t recall seeing either of those candidates at more than three meetings,” Lauzen said of Pierog and Elsbree. “This is America. If candidates want to complain and criticize – it’s a free country. They can complain and criticize all they want. What we are doing is getting results by working together.”