CHARLESTON, IL. (ECWd) -
We have been talking to the Coles County Board during public comment time at the board meetings for well over a year. One of the subjects of discussion is county board member participation in the county's health insurance plan.
We received nothing but excuses from the Board and from the Coles County State's Attorney.
In this series of articles, we will attempt to explain, in detail, how their participation in the county's health insurance plan is not authorized.
According to the Illinois Local Government Officer Compensation Act, 50 ILCS 145, the compensation of elected officials must be set by resolution of ordinance at least 180 days prior to the beginning of the term of office. It is essentially a contract between the governing body of a local government, and the public who vote them in office. It tells the public exactly what that elected official will receive as compensation.
Article VII, Section 9(b) of the Illinois Constitution further protects the public and the elected officer by placing a constitutional prohibition on increasing or decreasing a public officer's compensation during their term of office.
In a County, the Counties Code lays out the steps to take in setting a county elected officer's compensation:
- Section 4-10001: County board members shall receive such compensation as is fixed by the county board in accordance with the "method of compensation" selected by the county board.
- Section 2-3008: States the "method of compensation" is set during a county board's reapportionment, and the board can change the method of compensation in non-reapportionment years by resolution of Ordinance for board members, but cannot change it for the chairman during non-reapportionment years.
- Section 5-1069: States that a county board "may" provide for insurance, and elected and appointed officers are included in the term "employees" in this section
- County Policy: Finally, you must look at the County Employee Policy to determine if an elected county officer is eligible for health insurance - provided they included health insurance in the "method of compensation" selected by the county board.
Needless to say, Coles County failed at every step to include health insurance for board members, yet some of them have been participating in the County's health insurance program.
Below you will see the IRS W2 Forms of the Coles County Board for the tax year 2017, which they would have filed with their 2017 tax return.
Observe Line 12 - the "DD" Code means "Cost of Employer-Sponsored" Health Coverage," and the "W" Code means "Employer Contributions to a Health Savings Account." (see page 20 of the instructions)
Brandon Bell, Brian Marvin, and Stan Metzger have $6,540.00 in Line 12a with a code of "DD'
Paul Daily has $6,540.00 on line 12b with a code of "DD" and $4,30.00 in line 12a with a code of "W"
Part 2 is coming up, which will include the county board's resolution setting their compensation, the Coles County State's Attorney's first response to this health insurance question, and my letter to the Coles County Board in reply to the SA's first letter.
In the meantime, you can watch my public comment at the Dupage County Board in 2016 where they too were violating the compensation setting resolution, which they corrected after being exposed. (starting here at 50:10 and here). You can view the W2's below or download at this link.