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April 19, 2024

Edgar Co. Facing Lawsuit Over Excessive Compensation To Elected Officials –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On December 24, 2015

Edgar Co., IL. (ECWd) –
UPDATE: Dec. 28, 2015 – To clear up some misunderstandings, it is our position and belief that the county elected officials, other than the county board, were not aware insurance was not part of their compensation, and were actually told that insurance was part of their compensation (even though it is not). The county board, on the other hand, did know it was not and they were told it was not, but kept receiving it anyway.
On December 22, 2015, I filed a lawsuit [2015-MR-59] in Edgar County Circuit Court seeking injunctive relief to immediately stop payments to Edgar County elected officials that are in excess of their compensation as set by county board resolutions.
Every elected official in Edgar County has taken advantage of this and it must be stopped.
To “clear the air” on the definition of compensation:

Sec. 20-101. As used in this Article:
    (1) "Compensation, benefits or remuneration" includes regular compensation, overtime compensation, vacation compensation, deferred compensation, sick pay, disability pay, sick leave, disability leave, medical, dental, optical or other health benefits, pension or retirement benefits or any other pay, compensation, benefits, or any other remuneration.

At issue is the county (the taxpayer) paying for insurance coverage of some type or another for elected officials when the resolutions setting their compensation did not include it as compensation.
We have been after the county board since prior to the 2012 election, when we first noticed the resolution setting compensation for county board members did not include insurance benefits. They were told again and again, but chose to ignore it.
We recently published a series of articles, ( here, here, here, here, here, here, and here) exposing this and understand that all but one county board member has suddenly decided to not participate in the insurance program. Karl Farnham JR. is the lone hold-out and is still having the county pay for his insurance.
During a recent Freedom Of Information Act request for information on the dollar amount of insurance benefits that Karl Farnham had received (in excess of the compensation resolution), it came back that as of November 30, 2015, taxpayers enriched Farnham by $17,231.99. He continues to receive the payments, so now it is more than $17,231.99 that has been paid from taxpayer funds that should never have been paid – and to just one person – there are more…
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Back to the lawsuit, among others,

  • I am asking for an injunction to immediately stop paying for elected official insurance.
  • For a declaration that the resolutions passed by the county board are the only resolutions and the only authorized compensation.
  • For the Court to order full and complete repayment with interest.
  • For the Court to order treble damages (3 times the amount received).
  • For the Court to order a penalty of $2000 per event, or for each and every monthly receipt of unauthorized payment.
  • For the Court to order Edgar County to pay my costs in bringing the suit.

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  • Carolyn Wilson
    Posted at 10:13h, 24 December

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, & THANK YOU. I was going to continue my research of this after the first of the year. YOU JUST DID IT FOR ME!!!!! tAXPAYERS HAVE NOT A CLUE HOW MUCH COMPENSATION THEY GET WHILE HOLDING DOWN AN OCCUPATION/JOB, which for most get paid full benefits–that is what we call “double dipping”.
    Please John, contiunue your research about NOT going out for bids–they use the same ole “buddy system” used for years–not letting a new set of eyes and knowledge even getting a chance to bid. AND many don’t, just because they know they will continue with the “buddy system”, so why waste time in even trying for a bid at it!

  • Broomcorn Joni
    Posted at 12:34h, 24 December

    You could easily be talking about Arcola Township,no where do taxpayers pay elected officals like we do here in Arcola Township.Arcola Township secretary Deana Shields with compensation,retirement,insurance,and gas cards,oops scratch that I ment bounses makes just short of $1000,000.00!And don’t try to tell us she works soooooo hard,you can’t prove it with time cards because there aren’t any.

  • Chris M. Gaines
    Posted at 13:47h, 24 December

    Nice! These public servants of ours operate with impunity obviously…and they know it evidently. They don’t fear consequences, because there’s normally not any. Public corruption, and business as usual. Welcome to Illinois!
    Thank you for taking action in this case. Hit them where its matters most to them… in their wallets! Good luck winning this case.

  • former Paris resident
    Posted at 15:06h, 24 December

    Good for you John and good luck …

  • Eric Pratt
    Posted at 19:25h, 24 December

    Good man. An individual must take action when others will not or do not follow the rules.