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June 19, 2024

Shelby County Special Meeting Request – Facts Over Emotion

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On May 16, 2024

Shelby Co. (ECWd) –

A recently circulated email by County Board member Tad Mayhall is yet another example of emotion over facts.  Mayhall wants a special meeting called for the following reasons.  (Copy of special meeting form at this link)

  • Discuss and vote on a budget amendment for the State’s Attorney Office
  • Discuss payments made from State’s Attorney Office on May 10th totaling ~$91,950.

The initial request for the special meeting comes from the newly appointed State’s Attorney who only requested the meeting for the purpose of discussing her budget.  (State’s Attorney email at this link)

“I am writing to request an immediate special meeting to discuss the remaining 2024 budget allocated for the State’s Attorney’s office”

The second discussion item for the special meeting appears to be one of Mayhall’s creation.

Mayhall’s meeting request states: “with a pending murder trial and other issues in her office, the absence of a qualified ASA will likely hamstring her capabilities as well as place a heavy burden on the court system and local law enforcement efforts.”

Is such a statement indicating to the public the appointed SA has neither the experience nor expertise to handle a murder trial and other issues in her office? Those were the concerns raised when Hanlon was appointed to the point of hysteria.  Not a single concern was raised about his replacement’s capabilities to prosecute cases until now.  Less than a week into the new SA’s employment, Mayhall indicates without a qualified ASA her capabilities will be hamstrung.  We agree, any SA, qualified or not, is going to be hamstrung without qualified Assistants. This fact was recognized by the prior SA as well.

Looking at the current budget for the SA Office there are sufficient funds available to hire an assistant for the remaining 6 months of the year, so we are not sure why a special meeting is needed.

The implications presented by Mayhall lead members to understand or believe, by pointing to the Official Misconduct statute, that a crime was committed by the former State’s Attorney Rob Hanlon. He wants the board members to read the Illinois Severance Act.   It appears that law is driving the second discussion item for the special meeting.

Ironically, we are very familiar with the Illinois Severance Act as it was created specifically as a result of our exposure to criminal operations and massive malfeasance at the College of DuPage and Northern Illinois University.  Former State Representative Jeannie Ives introduced the legislation and rather than adopting it, the majority party killed the bill and reintroduced it the following year as their own.

The former Shelby County State’s Attorney entered into an agreement with one of his Assistant State’s Attorneys.  While we understand those with a limited legal understanding of our laws and certain definitions of key terms may not understand the details, it would have saved a whole lot of chaos if just a snippet of legal research had been done before sending out an email implying a crime was committed. Specifically, we understand the allegation being floated is that the severance act was violated because more than 20 weeks of compensation was paid to the outgoing ASA.  If one only looks at salary as compensation that would be true, but compensation is a defined term and is not only about salary.

“Severance pay” means the actual or constructive compensation, including salary, benefits, or perquisites, for employment services yet to be rendered which is provided to an employee who has recently been or is about to be terminated, or a university president or chancellor who is transitioning to a new position within the university for which he or she is employed, excluding interim presidents and interim chancellors.

The former SA, Rob Hanlon, has specialized in labor law for many years and provided Ms. Woolery with the information as to why there is no violation of the Severance Act. We would love to know the primary source of the misguided allegation.

“The Agreement did not violate the statute because it is not limited by salary but rather by “total compensation” as indicated in the statute. Amongst total compensation is the value of the amount of time the employee would have earned towards retirement and the value that particular employee progress toward retirement benefits, not just the portion of salary.  In order to calculate the compensation of the employee you take the benefit and capitalize it using the risk free rate of return (as government is the payor). Total compensation also includes things like the value of vacation, sick time and matching FICSA withholding.  The largest component is the valuation of the retirement benefits and my calculation of that value was in excess of $90,000 in addition to the salary and benefits.  This in turn makes the max statutory limit at just over $86,000 without adding health insurance and FICS calculation.”

We urge everyone to read the entire communication explaining the details of the matter (communication at this link).

Whoever jumped to the conclusion that the Illinois Severance Act was violated has missed the mark, never mind the fact the separation agreement is not just an employment separation but also a release of claims.

While many have allowed emotion to trump facts as it relates to the former State’s Attorney and the operation of his office, we do notice that those naysayers have stayed pretty much silent on the fact he brought over $300,000.00 of funds into the county.  That amount exceeds not only his compensation but that of his 1st Assistant, even with this settlement agreement.

With more convictions per month by former SA Hanlon than the prior two states’ attorneys to his term, it will be interesting to see how a family law practitioner handles the multiple facets of criminal prosecutions, local government law, labor law, contract law, and let’s not forget adult supervision of certain emotionally charged board members.

 

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1 Comment
  • Richard Grimes
    Posted at 16:36h, 16 May Reply

    You could have simply presented the facts, but you chose to once again throw in your playground style smarmy trash talk as well. Allow the facts paint the picture and not your sideways leading commentary. It’s old and tiring. Who cares if there is a request for a Special meeting. That’s their prerogative

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