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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Bill Would Require a Hearing to Increase Municipal Salaries

The Illinois General Assembly has introduced SB 1222 that would amend the Open Meetings Act and the Illinois Municipal Act to require the corporate authorities of a municipality to conduct a public hearing before it could vote on any increase in a municipal officer's or employee's earnings that would exceed 6% over the previous year's earnings.  The bill would create an "exception to the exception" that allows public bodies to discuss the compensation of individual employees in closed session.  It would also require the public body to publish notice at least 15 days but no more than 30 days prior to the hearing, similar to the notice required for zoning hearings. Members of the public would be permitted an opportunity to present testimony and evidence in favor of or in opposition to the proposed salary increase.  The new law would pre-empt home rule authority.  The bill also applies to counties and townships, but not the State of Illinois or other governmental entities.
This legislation certainly raises a few questions as to its application.  First, it is not clear from the language in the proposed legislation whether a public body would have to notice and conduct a separate public hearing for each employee or officer who would fall under this new mandate. Second, the proposed legislation does not define what would be included in the definition of "salary."  Third, it is not clear how this legislation would affect existing or future collective bargaining agreements with public employees. 
Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink


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