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April 14, 2024

Quick Lesson in Statutory Construction for Shelby County – Statute Silent on Interim Sheriff Pay

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On August 12, 2021

Shelby Co. (ECWd) –

The Shelby County Board has on their agenda an item for discussion and determination of salary for Sean McQueen, the current interim Sheriff filling the vacancy temporarily.  The State’s Attorney believes he is entitled to be paid the actual compensation assigned to the Sheriff.

We contend such a position is wrong based on the most basic level of statutory construction.  Had the legislature intended for the person filling in as the interim Sheriff to receive the same compensation as the Sheriff they would have put that language in the law, like they did for the position of Recorder.

55 ILCS 5/3-5008) (from Ch. 34, par. 3-5008)
    Sec. 3-5008. Powers of deputies. Deputy recorders duly appointed and qualified may perform any and all duties of the recorder in the name of the recorder, and the acts of such deputies shall be held to be the acts of the recorder, and in case of the death of the recorder or his deposition from office, the chief deputy shall thereupon become the acting recorder until such vacancy shall be filled according to The Election Code, and he shall file a like bond and be vested with the same powers and subject to the same responsibilities and entitled to the same compensation as in case of recorder. Provided, that if the recorder is called into the active military service of the United States, his office shall not be deemed to be vacant during the time he is in the active military service of the United States, but during the time he is in such active military service of the United States the deputy recorder shall be the recorder, and shall perform and discharge all of the duties of the recorder in such county, and shall be paid the same compensation as provided by law for the recorder of the county, apportioned as to the time of service, and such deputy recorder shall cease to be the recorder upon the discharge of said recorder from the active military service of the United States; and provided further, that the deputy recorder, upon becoming the temporary recorder during the absence of the recorder in the active military service of the United States, shall give bond as required of a regularly elected recorder.
(Source: P.A. 86-962.)

There is no such compensation provision in the Sheriff’s statute regarding filling a vacancy.

(55 ILCS 5/3-3010) (from Ch. 34, par. 3-3010)
    Sec. 3-3010. Deputy sheriff, undersheriff, or coroner to act when sheriff’s office vacant. Where the office of the sheriff is vacant, the chief deputy sheriff or undersheriff if designated by the sheriff to fill the vacancy, or, if no designation is made, the coroner of the county shall perform all the duties required by law to be performed by the sheriff, and have the same powers, and be liable to the same penalties and proceedings as if he were sheriff, until another sheriff is elected or appointed and qualified. The designation shall be in writing and filed with the county clerk. (Source: P.A. 91-633, eff. 12-1-99.)

If the legislature intended for an interim Sheriff to receive the same compensation as the duly elected or appointed sheriff they would have included such language in the law, just as they did for the position of Recorder.  The fact the law is silent as it relates to the Sheriff but not the Recorder position creates a statutory prohibition of paying an interim Sheriff the same compensation as Sheriff.

We have confirmed this with our attorney.



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1 Comment
  • PK
    Posted at 23:34h, 14 August

    The all but led astray Shelby County board logic is: ‘If he’s doing the sheriff’s job he should be paid the sheriff’s salary.’

    An interim sheriff performing the sworn duties of the elected sheriff shall be paid according to the Illinois Counties Code? No. But is an interim sheriff sworn into office like the elected sheriff was?

    Shelby County State’s Attorney Nichole Kronke elicited the board to such astray logic by citing certain Illinois law as it pertains to the powers and duties of county boards. Alas, she sure did work to see that an interim officer of the court was promoted in pay.