Grundy and Kendall Counties (ECWd) –
Chris Mehochko, the Superintendent of the Grundy/Kendall County Regional Office of Education (“GKROE”), has been handing out Christmas or Holiday bonuses like candy to the ROE employees for the past several years.
In 2020, there were a total of 23 separate $500 holiday bonuses gifted to the GKROE employees totaling $11,500.00.
In 2021, there were a total of 23 separate $500 holiday bonuses gifted to the GKROE employees totaling $11,500.00.
In 2022, there were a total of 23 separate $650 holiday bonuses gifted to the GKROE employees totaling $14,950.00.
We do not have the list of bonuses paid in 2023, if there were any.
For those three years, $37,950.00 of public funds were given away as gifts to employees of the GKROE without any proper authority to give away public cash.
A Freedom of Information Act request was submitted for any contract or agreements for employees referencing a bonus, and the ROEs reply was to respond with the contract spelling out a sign-on bonus for one employee in 2022 – nothing provided for the other employees, which means it does not exist.
As we have noted in previous articles on this subject (here, here, and here), Christmas bonuses for public employees, or bonuses of any kind, violate state law (Article VIII, Section 1 of the Illinois Constitution and the Wage Payment and Collection Act) when there are no written employment agreements spelling out such bonuses, along with measurable results required to obtain said bonuses.
According to the Illinois Administrative Code for the Wage Payment and Collection Act, “An employee has a right to an earned bonus when there is an unequivocal promise by the employer and the employee has performed the requirements set forth in the bonus agreement between the parties and for all of the required conditions for receiving the bonus set forth in the bonus agreement have been met.”
Without the written agreement with conditions to receive a bonus (measurable results), any such bonuses are an impermissible gifting of public funds.