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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Laws Impacting Municipalities Take Effect January 2012

With only two weeks left in 2011, and many lucky folks heading out of the office for the rest of the year, we thought it would be helpful to provide a brief summary of some of the new laws affecting municipalities that take effect on January 1, 2012. 

In no particular order, here they are:

Public Officials Must Complete Electronic Open Meetings Act Training. 

As we reported on September 21, 2011, P.A. 97-0504 added a new training requirement for all elected and appointed public officials.  Officials holding office on January 1, 2012, have one year to complete the training. Officials taking office after January 1, 2012 will have 90 days to complete the training. Officials who have already completed an OMA training program do not have to take it again.

The electronic training program is administered by the Public Access Counselor (PAC).  Upon completion of the training, each official must submit a certificate of completion to the PAC. A certificate of completion covers the official for any committee or subcommittee of the public body and for every other public body of which the official may be a member.

Municipalities Must Post Employee Salary Information.

As we reported on October 6, 2011, P.A. 97-0609 amended the Illinois Open Meetings requiring IMRF employers to post the total compensation package for the following employees: 

·     each employee receiving a total compensation package that exceeds $75,000 a year within six days after approving its budget.

·     each employee with a total compensation package equal to or in excess of $150,000, at least six days before an IMRF employer approves the package.

Under the new law, “total compensation package” is defined as salary, employer-paid health insurance premiums, housing allowance, vehicle allowance, clothing allowance, bonuses, loans, vacation days which will be earned in that year and sick days which will be earned in that year. 

If an employer maintains a website, it can post the information on its website or post the information available at its main office.  However, if an employer selects this option, it must also post directions on its website on how to access the information.  If the employer does not have a website, it must post the information at its main office.

Contractors Subject to New Record-Keeping Obligations under Prevailing Wage Act.

P.A. 97-0571 amends the Prevailing Wage Act to require contractors and subcontractors to keep records for at least 3 years from the date of the last payment on a contract or subcontract.  The new law also requires contractors to file a monthly certified payroll signed by the contractor or agent certifying that he or she has examined the payroll records.  Contractors now have 3 days (instead of 7) to make records available for inspection by the public agency.  For certain violations, contractors can be barred from public works projects for a four year period.   

Municipalities Can Recover Overpayment of Wages and Benefits.

P.A. 97-0120 amends the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act to authorize municipalities to make deductions from employee wages or final compensation for overpayments that result from a typographical or mathematical error made by the municipality or to collect a debt owed to a municipality.  The amount of the deduction cannot exceed 15% of the net amount of the payment.  Prior to making the deduction, the municipality must certify that (i) the employee has received notice of a wage deduction and opportunity for a hearing. (ii) the employee has been afforded a hearing by the municipality to dispute the debt.

Back Seat Passengers Now Have to Buckle Up.

P.A. 97-0016 requires all back seat passengers to wear a seatbelt, but exempts passengers of emergency vehicles and taxi cabs.

In closing, I have the following words of wisdom for 2012:

Buckle Up…

The Chicago Bears are not going to the playoffs. 
But, there's always next year...


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