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April 15, 2024

DuPage County Board Attorney failed to answer question presented –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On May 26, 2016

DuPage Co., IL. (ECWd) –

At the may 24, 2016 DuPage County Board meeting, I spoke during public comment and questioned the two Ordinances passed by the DuPage County Board at their previous meeting. UPDATE: Video of the meeting is located (here) and public comment starts with Kirk Allen at 44:34, and John Kraft at 50:10, followed by other members of the public.

Both dealt with compensation of elected DuPage county-wide offices and the compensation those elected officials are receiving and are the subject of this previous article (here).

The first Ordinance was for the stated purpose of “Restating Benefits Available to Elected Officials” – which, in our opinion, is void since you cannot “restate” something that was not stated previously nor properly authorized to receive in the first place. Essentially, it was an attempt at back-dating approval of health, life, and dental insurance, IMRF, and a vehicle allowance.

The second Ordinance was the Compensation setting Ordinance for elected county-wide offices whose terms start in December of 2016.

Let’s start out by stating the obvious: A Resolution/Ordinance setting the compensation of elected officials is a contract between the Board and the voters, letting them know what each elected official will receive for the performance of their duty during their term of office.

Board Member Curran asked the board attorney if a benefit, vehicle allowance for his question, made via Ordinance would be “wiped out” once a new salary resolution was established after the vehicle allowance ordinance. (we believe the answer is “yes”)

The Attorney responded by reading Attorney General Ryan’s opinion 00-013 stating that once compensation/benefits are set that it continues whether actually used or not and that there was no requirement for a board to pass a new salary ordinance prior to each election. (the question was not answered)

On that part, we agree…but it continues…

The Attorney continued answering a follow-up question on the form of compensation, by stating that since the “vehicle allowance ordinance had not been changed since 2000, that it was still valid. He also failed to recognize that each and every new Ordinance setting compensation would absolutely nullify previous Ordinances regarding compensation/salary, regardless of which benefits those Ordinances established. He never stated the Ordinances approved two weeks ago – or two years ago – nullified previous ordinances or not, which was the underlying question asked.

He even pointed to a 1977 Ordinance for health insurance – stating that was the authorizing document. However, there have been many compensation ordinances passed in DuPage County since 1977.

Another Board member stated that he was confident that his State’s Attorney had reviewed these Ordinances and should be trusted. My point, and I am not suggesting the SA is acting improper, is that for this particular issue the Board may want to rely on an outside agency, be it the Appellate Prosecutor’s Office or the Attorney General’s Office since their State’s Attorney would stand to lose more than $35,000 per year if he wrote an opinion contrary to what the board passed two weeks ago.

It remains our opinion that these benefits, or compensation, (based on the definition of Compensation in Article XX, Section 20-101, of the Code of Civil Procedure) are not authorized at this time, and only become authorized in December of 2016, and only for those terms of office starting this December. The past two elected official salary/compensation Ordinances did not include the other items, and therefore cannot be received.

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DuPage County Board – 2015


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  • Commenter
    Posted at 11:43h, 27 May

    I think your points would be much better made if you actually did other interviews with experts and qualified commenters. All of your commentaries seem to come exclusively from – as far as it seems to the public – your own opinions. While you have read a lot of statute and law and been involved in watchdog efforts for some time, right now it’s essentially just your word vs. the word of people who are actually attorneys. Doesn’t mean you are wrong, but you have very little professional experience in actual case law when it comes to interpreting these things.

  • Ordinary Guy
    Posted at 12:20h, 27 May

    Seems like Kraft & Allen’s track record versus “actual attorneys” is pretty good.I guess some people think citizens standing up for themselves should pay for expert advice before questioning politicians. Are any of these lawyers every right about anything?

  • CountyLeaks
    Posted at 15:04h, 27 May

    Dear Commenter,

    One needn’t be an “actual attorney” to read and interpret the law. Nor does one need to be an “actual attorney” to know stuff like ethics and arithmetic.

    Check out what DuPage’s leading law enforcer and “actual attorney” interprets as okay:

  • Danni Smith
    Posted at 11:58h, 31 May

    There are certain people who view attorneys and physicians as omniscient. There are also many attorneys who are pompous, rather than humble people. If we look at the current state of Illinois, run by attorneys for decades, the state of the country, also run by attorneys for years vs. major businesses run by businessmen for years, it seems obvious to ask, “Are attorneys wise, smart, fair?” They have certainly made many laws to protect themselves. That’s wise. They have certainly taken their power to get larger salaries and pensions than the rest of us. That’s smart. And they have certainly fought each other in trials defending opposite sides. That’s fair. This is the latest “smart” act these “smart” attorneys will be executing: Only working one day per week if there is no budget for Illinois. “But, but”, you may say, ” we pay them for 5 days per week of work.” So I as a layman am perfectly capable to interpret the law that requires me to pay these attorneys for what they do not deliver. You see, one does not have to be a lawyer to understand law-the law that controls me and not them.

  • Commenter
    Posted at 12:20h, 31 May

    Not saying they haven’t. I’m just saying bringing outside voices into the vacuum of a news story adds depth and credence to arguments as well as helps vet out bias (or at least helps). Plus, I would imagine there are a good number of other watchdog groups, pro bono groups, etc. that would add to it.

    Just my two cents.