Kane County Board chairman proposes salary boosts for county directors

GENEVA – For the third consecutive day, Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen on Thursday laid out a plan to boost salaries for county directors.

Lauzen presented the Administration and Public Service committees with proposals to give Chief Information Officer Roger Fahnestock and Supervisor of Assessments Mark Armstrong 5 percent raises.

Armstrong also is poised to get a 2 percent raise retroactive to Dec. 1, 2012, because he was inadvertently excluded from the 2 percent increase granted in fiscal 2013 to other directors.

The proposed salary bumps are part of a larger effort by Lauzen to make director salaries more comparable to those offered by other counties in the region. The philosophy is to protect talent and reward achievement, he said.

“There are some folks here I wouldn’t want to try to replace,” Lauzen said.

According to information provided by Lauzen, the average salary for chief information officers in Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties is $132,190, and Fahnestock’s salary is $135,484.

The assessment supervisors in those counties make, on average, $111,096, and Armstrong’s salary is $108,150, according to Lauzen’s information.

Board members indicated the raises are deserved. 

They described Fahnestock as the county’s technology architect and said Armstrong has a knack of explaining information better than anyone else.

But they also said the comparisons could be improved by adding such details as the counties’ populations and number of employees.

Board member Phil Lewis, R-St. Charles, suggested recalculating the averages to include Kane County and to exclude Cook County, which he described as a different animal.

“Comparables are key,” Lewis said. “I don’t believe Cook County is a comparable.”

As the raises proceed through the approval process, board member Mark Davoust, R-St. Charles, said funding sources must be considered. He said it is a “slippery slope” to use revenues that can’t be guaranteed in the future.

Documents outlining the proposed raises indicate contingency funds will be a funding source.

The Public Service Committee forwarded Armstrong’s proposed raise to the Finance/Budget Committee, which is also expected to consider the proposed salary increases discussed earlier this week.

The Administration Committee did not act on Fahnestock’s proposed raise because of delays caused by his medical-related absence, Lauzen said.

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