Edgar Co., IL. (ECWd) -
The Edgar County Board has finally approved a Resolution setting the compensation of elected officials taking office on December 1, 2016.
- "Salary Resolution for Elected Officials Whose Terms Begin December 1, 2016."
This resolution includes health insurance for county board members - which is what I have been asking for them to do for more than three years. It took a lawsuit to convince them it was the right thing to do.
Within this Resolution contains the salary, travel allowance, retirement, and health-related insurance for Edgar County Elected Officials. (here or below)
This Resolution did eliminate the travel allowance to attend County Board Meetings.
One requirement of county board member salary/compensation is that the board must set the compensation prior to an election, and the only compensation allowable is to be spelled out in that resolution setting their compensation. There can be no increase or decrease during their term of office. So whatever is set in the resolution is what they receive. Period. Nothing more, nothing less.
Reading our past articles on this subject, you will notice that never once did we state elected officials shouldn't receive health insurance, although that would be our preference, instead, we simply stated that what they were receiving was in violation of the most recent Resolution setting their compensation.
Among the most contentious items that our county board members have received for several years is health insurance. However, it has not been listed as part of their compensation in the resolution, and therefore, the law does not allow them to receive it - no matter how long it has been happening.
This board has tried to say that health insurance is not "salary" or "compensation" - but we disagreed, and for a good cause.
A good timeline of events is listed in this article (here). Additionally, in October of 2015, the board attempted to pass a resolution giving themselves health insurance - which was still not in compliance with the law (here).
The Illinois Supreme Court has defined the terms "salary" and "compensation" to be "virtually synonymous" to each other.
These bullet points come from the Illinois Supreme Court case in which 61 elected County Treasurers filed suit to be paid a stipend that was newly enacted by the State Legislature in 1986, which had an effective date of 3 days after their term of office started. They failed in their pursuit and had to wait until the next election.
- A salary is a fixed, annual, periodical amount payable for services and depending upon the time of employment and not the amount of services rendered.
- Such salary is an annual stipend, payable in sickness as well as in health, for duties much more onerous in some districts than in others and regardless of the fact whether such duties are performed by the judge in person or by the judge of another district called in to take his place.
- It is compensation which cannot be diminished during the continuance of the incumbent in office and of which he cannot be deprived except by death, resignation or impeachment.
- that is: (1) the power to increase one's salary (compensation) should not be used to influence the performance of an officeholder, and (2) a person ought not to be able to increase his or her own salary (compensation).
- The word "salaries" in section 9(b) [of Article VII of the 1970 Constitution], we hold, encompasses all forms of compensation paid to the public official for performing the duties of the office.
- We also note that the terms "salary" and "compensation" are virtually synonymous and are used interchangeably in these provisions of the constitution.
- The term "salary" is merely more commonly used to describe the payment that elected officials receive for their services, just as the term "wages" is more commonly used to describe the payment that some laborers receive and "commission" is the term used to describe the payment that some salespeople receive. It is simply hard to envision how these elected officials, who are paid by way of salary, can be given more money for the performance of their duties and have it be termed something other than salary.
For now, we are happy this county board is finally setting the correct compensation in their resolution for compensation of elected officials - it would have been so easy to do 3 1/2 years ago, but I guess "better late than never".
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