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Friday, April 25, 2014

Treasurers' Pay Cannot Decrease During Term of Office

The Illinois County Treasurers' Association sued the Illinois Department of Revenue and Comptroller claiming they violated Illinois law by not paying the county treasurers the full amount of their annual stipends. In support of its argument, the ICTA cited the Illinois Constitutional provision that prohibits an increase or decrease in an elected official's salary during their terms - the same provision that Illinois legislators cited in their lawsuit against Governor Quinn when he suspended their pay last year.  The defendant state agencies responded that the General Assembly failed to appropriate sufficient funds to pay the county officials and that the separation of powers doctrine barred the ICTA's lawsuit.

The circuit court ruled in favor of the defendants on the separation of powers issue, finding the ICTA's lawsuit barred. The appellate court reversed, however, finding that the county treasurers were constitutionally entitled to receive their full pay, and the decision to decrease that pay during the treasurers' terms of office violated the Illinois constitution.  The court was not persuaded by the defendants' argument that the legislature was to blame for not appropriating sufficient money to pay the county treasurers.  Illinois County Treasurers Assoc. v. Hamer (April 22, 2014).


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