Our Pledge of Allegiance at every County Board meeting means nothing if we don’t understand what it means and blatantly ignore the very pledge they recite every month.
In the Pledge of Allegiance we all pledge allegiance to our Republic, not to a democracy. "Republic" is the proper description of our government, not "democracy" and you may be surprised to find that the word Democracy doesn’t appear ANYWHERE in our US Constitution! In a republic, sovereignty is in each individual person while a democracy the sovereignty is in the group.
A very basic explanation on video can be found at this link:
So what does this have to do with a County Board that Violates its own county policy manual?
Rule of Law – The Principal that NO ONE is above the law
- The County Board and other County Officials are ELECTED by law!
- County Board adopts a County Personnel Policy, which outlines the fringe benefit of Health, Dental, Vision insurance for its employees.
- That very Policy adopted by the County board CLEARLY states all County Employees are covered by the Fringe Benefits…………………
ELECTED OFFICIALS AND DEPARTMENT HEADS!
From Page 9 of the Policy Manual: “…except for employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement, all employees of EDGAR COUNTY are employed at will. That is, either the Employer or the employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time. The fringe benefits referred to in this handbook apply to regular full-time employees. All employees of Edgar County are covered by these policies except Elected Officials and Department Heads!”
There are other exceptions but none which would permit the Elected Officials to receive Health Care benefits, or any other fringe benefit as outlined in the Policy Manual!
Every County Board Member receives Health Care Insurance, in direct violation of their very own County Personnel Policy!
Upon discovering this information I sent the following e-mail to the States Attorney, Mark Isaf, Chief Law Enforcement Officer in our County Government.
"Mr. Isaf, I raised an issue with the County Board this morning pertaining to the County Policy Manual and its specific guidelines pertaining to fringe benefits.
The Introduction page of that manual clearly spells out the following:
The fringe benefits referred to in this handbook apply to regular full-time employees. All employees of Edgar County are covered by these policies except:
- Elected Officials and Department Heads
- Employees hired on a contractual basis, unless an individual contract provides otherwise.
- Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement
- Personnel appointed to serve without compensation.
Elected Officials and Department Heads are defined in the manual as:
A. Office Heads: shall be defined as the elected county positions of County Clerk, County Treasurer, Circuit Clerk and State’s Attorney as well as the appointed positions of Probation Officer and Supervisor of Assessments.
B. Department: shall have the same meaning as “office” which shall include the Offices of County Clerk, County Treasurer, Circuit Clerk, State’s Attorney, Probation Officer and Supervisor of Assessments
Chapter 6 clearly spells out the benefits and services as Health, Dental, and Vision insurance. The County Board confirmed they do in fact receive these benefit, as do Department Heads.
Upon notification that the board is clearly violating the County Policy Manual by providing these benefits to Elected Officials and Department Heads I was informed that those benefits cannot be changed for 10 years as they have been set by law 180 days prior to the election.
As you know, there is no 10 year guideline for setting salaries. Couple that with the fact providing something in direct violation of the rules established doesn’t imply you can’t correct it as fringe benefits are not salary and does not fall under the Salaries and Fees referenced in our Illinois Constitution, which is the law of the land.
The Illinois Constitution clearly states:
Article VII - SECTION 9. SALARIES AND FEES
(a) Compensation of officers and employees and the office expenses of units of local government shall not be paid from fees collected. Fees may be collected as provided by law and by ordinance and shall be deposited upon receipt with the treasurer of the unit. Fees shall not be based upon funds disbursed or collected, nor upon the levy or extension of taxes.
(b) An increase or decrease in the salary of an elected officer of any unit of local government shall not take effect during the term for which that officer is elected.
My purpose for raising this issue is twofold. Actions in violation of the county policy by ALL our elected officials must be addressed and corrected first and foremost but also the financial savings to the county for health insurance to a wide number of people would offset and more than likely cover the entire expense for the county to hire a County Administrator, which I think you would agree we are in desperate need of. Mr. Keller did agree and even stated he has wanted a County Administrator for years.
I am asking that you take appropriate action to correct this matter as it appears from the comments today County Board has no intention of addressing it.
I would appreciate confirmation that this matter is being addressed and corrected."
If we are ever going to fix things in this county we must look at the problems and determine whether or not we are going to operate like a democracy or a REPUBLIC! A Republic is based on the Rule of Law, which our elected officials ALL took an oath to uphold!
If our own elected officials are allowed to turn up their nose at the very rules they expect everyone else to follow where does that leave us as a society?
If a persons OATH is to have any meaning and value at all we MUST demand accountability. The concept of Do As I Say, Not As I Do must stop!
I pray that Mr. Isaf takes the position to advise the elected officials that they are in fact violating the county policy and put a stop to the spending of our money on items currently forbidden by County Policy, however, I suspect the following will happen:
- Ignore the exposed self-serving action of our Elected Officials
- Change the County Policy to permit themselves to receive Health Insurance
People of Edgar County, Place your bets!