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May 24, 2024

City Gives Away Cash For Christmas Gifts –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On May 5, 2024

Le Roy, Ill. (ECWd) –

According to meeting minutes of the November 20, 2023, Le Roy city council meeting, the aldermen voted to give away municipal funds.

By unanimous vote, Christmas gift (debit) cards totaling $1000.00 were gifted to city employees and to members of the city zoning board.

We have reported on unlawful gifts such as these for years, here are a few:

At least one State’s Attorney has issued a written opinion on the gifting of public funds for things such as Christmas gifts, or for this letter, bereavement flowers, etc.

The bottom line? It violates the constitution’s requirement of a public purpose, see Article VIII, Section 1. This must stop as it is abusive to tax payers and rate payers.

***

As we have previously noted, Christmas Bonuses for public employees, or bonuses of any kind, violate state law (Article VIII, Section 1 of the 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.”

These gifts may also run afoul of the Illinois Criminal Code:

(720 ILCS 5/33E-16)
Sec. 33E-16. Misapplication of funds.
(a) An officer, director, agent, or employee of, or affiliated in any capacity with any unit of local government or school district commits misapplication of funds when he or she knowingly misapplies any of the money, funds, or credits of the unit of local government or school district.
(b) Sentence. Misapplication of funds is a Class 3 felony.

Without the written agreement, any bonuses are an impermissible gifting of public funds.

2023 reg mtg Nov 20

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9 Comments
  • Joanne Schaeffer
    Posted at 13:27h, 05 May Reply

    And School District 103 in Lyons, Illinois did the same thing, $500 bonus to all teachers !! No one cares, it’s only tax payer money.

  • Dave
    Posted at 14:47h, 05 May Reply

    They have allot of nerve using our tax dollars for Christmas gifts

  • Droopy: Master Sergeant
    Posted at 15:35h, 05 May Reply

    I would be curious to know how much property taxes across the state of Illinois would go down if 85% of public officials were not corrupt?!?! This article address some of the gifts known about. For every one you know about there are at least 10 you don’t know about.

  • OGC
    Posted at 18:26h, 05 May Reply

    Poplar Grove just doesn’t even vote on it. They just use the village credit card secretly!!!!!!

    • Kathiann
      Posted at 19:56h, 05 May Reply

      I would put in a FOIA request for the credit card bills. Then I would write an article about it or an op-Ed.

  • John Brown
    Posted at 20:52h, 05 May Reply

    While I don’t agree with always giving out bonuses, you have quoted Illinois Administrative Code for the Wage Payment and Collection Act which has 4 different sub sections a-d. You are quoting section A, but section C (A gratuitous bonus does not obligate the employee to do or forgo something in return for the bonus and the employee has no right to make a demand for the bonus.) would allow these gifts to be voted on if I am not mistaken. If I am mistaken please explain how this is not the case.

    • John Kraft & Kirk Allen
      Posted at 10:13h, 06 May Reply

      Local governments are prohibited by state law from gifting funds to employees. With that said, the Wage Payment and collection Act applies to local governments and private employers. “Gratuitous” payments by local governments are covered in the constitution, other laws, or those local governments were never granted the powers to provide those types of payments to begin with (see Dillon’s Rule). Which means that any such provisions in the Illinois Administrative Code are preempted by prohibitions placed on local governments from gifting those funds, and only apply to private employers.

  • John K
    Posted at 21:41h, 05 May Reply

    Too many units of local government. They break the law in plain sight, without consequence.

  • Brian K Anderson
    Posted at 06:31h, 06 May Reply

    My local twp road commissioner determined it was a good use of taxpayer money to gift the installation cost of guardrails at a tractor pulling venue in a county, township, and village not served by our twp. That’s a good use of $5,850 of taxpayer money. Of course he didn’t present the true installation bill to trustees for approval. Gives me the impression he knew it wasn’t an authorized use of public funds.

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