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McConnaughay gets private attorney in pay raise suit

Karen McConnaughay

Karen McConnaughay

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Updated: August 14, 2012 6:33AM

The Kane County state’s attorney office will no longer be representing County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay in the lawsuit she faces over pay raises she handed out to department heads.

The state’s attorney’s office filed a motion with the 16th Circuit Court Thursday asking to be recused from the case, saying it could no longer represent the chairman because of potential conflicts between McConnaughay and the County Board.

McConnaughay and the board have been sued by former McConnaughay political opponent Jim MacRunnels, who claims McConnaughay issued raises to 13 department heads and Kane County employees. The suit argues that McConnaughay gave the pay raises without notifying the board, which could be a violation of county ordinance.

McConnaughay said the suit is politically motivated and called it “frivolous.”

Local courts had dismissed the case in April of 2011, but a recent appellate court ruling re-started the case.

In addition to being the county’s criminal prosecutor, State’s Attorney Joe McMahon represents all county employees who are sued as part of their official duties. However, since testimony from McConnaughay could conflict with testimony from other witnesses — County Board members, for example — McMahon filed a motion Thursday to recuse his office. The motion is scheduled to be heard at 9 a.m. Monday before Circuit Judge Thomas Mueller.

The filing indicates that McConnaughay has hired Claudette Miller of Ungaretti and Harris, a Chicago law firm, to represent her.

Ratification of the pay raises was scheduled to appear on the Tuesday County Board agenda, but instead was left off. The item is now scheduled to appear in front of the board at a special meeting on July 31, before the Committee of the Whole.

MacRunnels has said he would be willing to drop the case, if McConnaughay would admit to wrong doing. McConnaughay argued she was following the same procedures in issuing the raises that her predecessors followed.

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