CHARLESTON, IL. (ECWd) –
The Coles County State's Attorney responded to my continued public comments in reference to some Coles County Board members receiving unauthorized health insurance. Part 1 of this series is here.
In his January 30, 2019 memorandum (here), Coles County State's Attorney, Jesse Danley, responded in 1 1/2 pages:
"It has come to my attention that a question has been raised as to the appropriateness of county board members utilizing the health insurance available to county employees without first adopting a resolution permitting the same.
55 ILCS 5/5-1069 provides:
(a) The county board of any county may arrange to provide, for the benefit of employees of the county, group life, health, accident, hospital, and medical insurance, or any one or any combination of those types of insurance, or the county board may self-insure, for the benefit of its employees***(emphasis added)
Employee is defined at 55 ILCS5/1069(e) as follows:
(e) The term "employees" as used in this Section includes elected or appointed officials but does not include temporary employees.
The statute also makes provision for retired employees (upon resolution or ordinance) at 55 ILCS 5/5-1069(f) as follows:
(f) The county board may, by ordinance, arrange to provide group life, health, accident, hospital, and medical insurance, or any one or any combination of those types of insurance, under this Section to retired former employees and retired former elected officials of the county.
The question may become: Are county board members "elected officials"? It is my opinion they are elected officials." (he then points to the Illinois Administrative Code)
"No enabling resolution of ordinance is necessary where the action is permitted by statute.
Please let me know if further clarification is desired."
After reading this letter, I responded (here) stating:
- In short, the statement in the January 30, 2019 letter of “no enabling resolution or ordinance is necessary where the action is permitted by statute” is not correct when speaking of compensation to elected officials. It ignores the other statutory requirements for setting compensation. Being permitted by statute only means it “may” be included as compensation in the resolution or ordinance setting the compensation.
The simple fact that a monetary amount, insurance, vehicle allowance, or any other thing "may" be provided to an elected official, does not mean it is automatically given to an elected official short of that specific item being place within the compensation setting resolution.
The underlying document, the compensation setting resolution/ordinance, must have provided for whatever compensation an elected official is to receive during their term of office. That is their contract with the voters.
First, the County Board must select the "method of compensation" of board members.
Next, a resolution/ordinance must provide for such compensation within the confines of the law
Coles County failed on these two requirements when it comes to health insurance.
Then, if the above is properly approved, a county board "may" (provided it is included within the resolution setting their compensation) provide for health insurance for the board members. The Counties Code specifically states that elected officials of a county are considered employees for the purpose of health insurance.
Finally, if the board properly selected their method of compensation, and if health insurance was placed in the resolution setting their compensation, then a board member may receive health insurance in accordance with their employee policy on health insurance (since they are considered employees for this purpose).
The Coles County Employee Policy Manual, Sections 10 and 24, do not provide for health insurance for part-time employees, which is what a Coles County Board Member is. Coles County would have to update its employee policy to permit part-time employees to participate in the county's health insurance, or place a carve-out specifically for board members.
Coles County failed on this item also.
Feel free to read my complete response, another article is forthcoming.
Letter re Coles County Board Insurance
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