Edgar County, Illinois (ECWd) –
When dealing with Edgar County’s Policy Manual, we have brought up the issue of elected officials participating in the health insurance program in direct violation of county policy. We have been reminding the board of this since at least September of 2012. They have chosen to ignore the truth, and have even participated in stonewalling attempts.
The time is now to put a stop to this fleecing of taxpayer money in violation of policy and in violation of state law.
History of the Elected Official
Health Insurance Issue in Edgar County
September of 2012 – Possibly the first time we brought up the insurance issue (article here)
From Page 7 of the Policy Manual: “…except for employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement, all employees of EDGAR COUNTY are employed at will. That is, either the Employer or the employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time.”
“The fringe benefits referred to in this handbook apply to regular full-time employees. All employees of Edgar County are covered by these policies except Elected Officials and Department Heads!”
There are other exceptions but none which would permit the Elected County officials in the county to receive Health Care benefits, or any other fringe benefit as outlined in the Policy Manual!
Edgar County State’s Attorney Mark Isaf was notified by letter in 2012 and has continued to knowingly allow the County Board to violate its own policies and state law.
December 10, 2014, at approximately 5:26 in the video (here):
– I asked the Board again to corrected their county policy to reflect the reality of elected officials receiving county health insurance
December 22, 2014, at approximately 14:27 in the video (here):
– At 14:27 in the video, Voigt said there was a “fix” for the policy manual for the January board meeting, something we’ve been after them for over a year and a half to fix, because currently their own policy does not allow elected officials to receive benefits such as health insurance. There was no “fix”.
– At 20:38 Jenness talked about asking the State’s Attorney to look in to it, and it was stated that it has been brought up for about a year and a half (with no answer). It was acknowledged that the Edgar County policy book specifically excludes elected officials from receiving the county health insurance.
So they admit, on video, that county policy specifically excludes them from fringe benefits like health insurance, while at the same time, the county is still paying for it for them.
August 10, 2015 Study Session:
– At about the seven second mark (video here), I asked again about health insurance for elected officials and was told the county board adopted a resolution that “fixed” that problem several years ago.
– I submitted a FOIA request for that resolution, received what was purported to be the “fix”, only to find out nothing in it reflected anything remotely connected to health insurance for elected officials.
– The Health Insurance Resolution dated August 5, 1981, says nothing about elected officials receiving health insurance.
– A resolution dated November 23, 2011 set the compensation for County Board members as: $1200 annually, $25 for each committee meeting, $10 travel allowance for every meeting, and mileage for meetings. Nothing about insurance.
August 12, 2015 Board Meeting:
– Prior to the meeting I talked to Jenness about the “resolution” and how it did not say anything about health insurance for elected officials, only to be told that it was not in a resolution, but instead a change to state law that did it. Of course no one knew which state law, and no one knew when the change was made. I am of the opinion that there was never a change to any state law for the purpose of providing health insurance to Edgar County elected board members.
This issue involves violation of state law, by providing more compensation than authorized by the County Board, who set the compensation. It also violates the County’s own policy, which can be prosecuted as a policy violation to include improper use of public funds.
The State’s Attorney is well aware of this situation and allows it to continue, when he should be filing suit against the board, in the name of the people of the County of Edgar, to recover improperly used public funds.
What can we do about it?
Three years is long enough to wait, so we are being forced to take legal action to stop this unlawful spending and to recover every penny that was spent, outside of state law and county policy, on health insurance for elected county officials.