Kane reworking policy on hiring freeze
By Matt Brennan For The Beacon-News March 6, 2013 2:10PM
Updated: April 8, 2013 7:40AM
The Kane County Board Executive Committee Wednesday spiked an effort to have a 2008 hiring freeze reaffirmed, instead sending it back to the committee level to be rewritten.
Board Chairman Chris Lauzen said that the current policy is confusing, and has several things wrong with it that will need to be addressed as the county moves forward in its policies.
“This is so full of holes, it’s almost comical,” he said.
The human services and finance committees launched a review of the policy in the weeks after Lauzen and Health Department Director Barb Jeffers hired Robert Sauceda as a seasonal billing manager for the Animal Control Department. The hire occurred without approval from the County Board. Sauceda is a Lauzen political ally and former candidate for the board.
The hiring policy was supposed to be re-evaluated every six months since its inception in 2008, but those reviews never took place. Instead of starting them now, Lauzen encouraged the members of the human services committee to take a step back and determine a set of management best practices for issues such as job classification, salaries, raises, hiring and firing procedures and performance reviews.
Assistant State’s Attorney Joe Cullen also assured the board and county departments that the freeze was still in place while the policies are to be reviewed.
“It remains in effect until it’s affirmatively removed,” he said.
The current hiring freeze applies to all department heads who are not elected officials. For example, it applies to Jeffers and the Animal Control Department, but does not apply to the circuit clerk, sheriff’s office, or any other elected position.
It would require board approval for the creation of a new position, and for departments to fill vacant positions.
Lauzen said in an interview said that the functions of the billing manager in Animal Control are not new. Someone had been performing those duties in the past, and it was important to see that someone do that again. Sauceda has collected $78,000 for the department since the time he was hired at the end of January, Lauzen said.
He also noted that the billing manager is about four levels into the county organization, and it did not make sense for the board to have that much say in the hiring process.
“Can you imagine any other place where that would be allowed to take place?” he said.
The hiring of the billing manager stemmed from an executive session, where Lauzen pushed Sauceda to head the department — a seat that remains vacant. The billing manager position was created at the suggestion of a board member, Lauzen said.