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Kane County Board denies raises to elected officials

GENEVA – Despite support from some Kane County Board members, elected officials serving in countywide positions will not get raises after the November election.

A measure to increase the auditor’s, circuit clerk’s, coroner’s, recorder’s and board chairman’s salaries by 2.5 percent for four years beginning Dec. 1, 2016, failed in an 8-13 vote.

Dissenters said the vote was badly timed, as it came on the heels of the primary election and happened soon after homeowners received their property tax bills.

John Hoscheit, R-St. Charles, said state law factored into the timing. Under statute, he said, salary adjustments must be approved 180 days before the officials are elected.

T.R. Smith, R-Maple Park, said constituents have “burned up” his phone on the issue, and none were in favor of the raises. However, he acknowledged that the board, which works with and gets to know the elected officials, was in a difficult position.

“This really is a double-edge sword for us,” he said.

Drew Frasz, R-Elburn, said there was inadequate time to consider the issue and advocated for citizen input on such matters. He would have supported the measure if a citizens advisory group backed it, he said.

Supporters described it as an issue of fairness. Many noted that elected officials hadn’t received pay increases in years – in some cases 10 or more.

“Our elected office-holders are the face of the county,” Deborah Allan, D-Elgin, said.

Monica Silva, D-Aurora, said her initial reaction was a “staunch no,” but she later changed her mind. The raise would be a “small way to show appreciation” of the elected offices, she said.

In addition to Allan and Silva, those who supported the raises were Theresa Barreiro, D-Aurora; Joseph Haimann, D-Carpentersville; Hoscheit; Kurt Kojzarek, R-Gilberts; Bill Lenert, R-Sugar Grove; and Doug Scheflow, R-Elgin.

Maggie Auger, R-Algonquin; Cristina Castro, D-Elgin; Brian Dahl, D-North Aurora; Mark Davoust, R-St. Charles; Becky Gillam, R-West Dundee; Don Ishmael, D-Aurora; Mike Kenyon, R-South Elgin; Phil Lewis, R-St. Charles; Myrna Molina, D-Aurora; Susan Starrett, R-Batavia; and Barb Wojnicki, R-Campton Hills; joined Frasz and Smith in voting against the increases.

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