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Friday, June 16, 2017

City Prevails in PSEBA Case

From Ancel Glink's sister labor and employment blog, The Workplace Report: PSEBA Eligibility Ordinance Upheld by Court.

Recently, an Illinois appellate court addressed the legality of a local ordinance that established an application and hearing process to use in determining whether an employee is eligible for benefits under the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act (PSEBA), an Illinois statute. Englum v. City of Charleston. PSEBA provides that public safety employees, generally police, fire and paramedics, who suffer a catastrophic, career or life ending injury or illness as a result of performing certain duties of their job (generally responding to an emergency), are entitled to lifetime free health insurance to them and their dependents. 

Englum challenged the ordinance, alleging that the city did not have authority to adopt procedures under PSEBA. Specifically, he claimed the city exceeded its authority as a non-home rule municipality. The Fourth District Appellate Court disagreed. It held that because the PSEBA statute itself required benefits to be paid to eligible employees, but did not provide a procedure to determine eligibility so that the statute itself did not limit an employer’s authority to create a benefit application process. Furthermore, the court found that the Illinois Municipal Code allows municipalities to enact ordinances “in regard to the relation between all municipal officers and employees in respect to each other, the municipality and the people.” Award of PSEBA benefits, according to the court, involves not only the relation between municipal officers and employers, but also taxpayers, as they will ultimately fund the benefit.

This decision is important because it confirms the authority of municipalities to establish an orderly and uniform process for determining PSEBA eligibility, which can be an extremely contentious issue for both sides. Municipalities, whether home rule or non-home rule, should consider enacting an ordinance for the orderly determination of PSEBA benefits.

For a more detailed summary about the case, visit The Workplace Report. 

Post originally authored by Margaret Kostopolus, Ancel Glink

Disclaimer:  Ancel Glink represented the City of Charleston in this case.


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