Joliet Twp. (ECWd) -
A few weeks ago we published an article detailing how Joliet Township passed an improper Compensation Setting Ordinance for the Township Clerk back in 2016. Read it here.
In that article, we laid out the timeline and statutory references to the fixing of compensation for elected officials.
Joliet Township decided to approved two separate compensations for the township clerk, depending on who gets elected/re-elected to the clerk's office.
Until now, we did not have definitive proof of any willful and intentional misconduct in the setting of that compensation, because they claimed on paper they needed to decide if it would be full-time or part-time. Even though there is no authority to determine full or part-time for a township clerk, or decide at any date later than 180 days prior to the start of the new term of office, we were led to believe, according to their meeting minutes and the ordinances, the board was struggling with that question (not the question of the actual person running for office).
Now we have a closed session audio recording from a meeting held last June, which we believe proves their intention was to set compensation at the appropriate time according to the Local Government Officer Compensation Act, but leave room for them to make a later decision dependent upon who the next clerk was going to be.
What does the law say?
Sec. 2. Time of fixing compensation. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, the compensation of elected officers of school districts and units of local government, including home rule units, which compensation is to be fixed by that school district or unit of local government, shall be fixed at least 180 days before the beginning of the terms of the officers whose compensation is to be fixed.
(Source: P.A. 89-405, eff. 11-8-95.)
Is there any exception listed based on who the board thinks is running for office and changing it at a later date? No.
There is no provision in the law to set two separate compensation schedules depending on which person gets elected to an office. It is illegal to do it this way and I find it hard to believe their attorney sat there and let it happen (which might be why he decided to retire a couple months ago).
Listen to the audio clip, this is where Vera admits to fudging the compensation of the clerk:
While he is making deals to make up a job in return for a resignation of the last highway commissioner, he admits to how they decided what the clerk would get paid, based on whether or not it would be the same clerk or a new one.