State Bonuses for County Officials in Crosshairs of Budget Cutters

What might be characterized as thinly-disguised bribes to keep county officials running for the Illinois General Assembly have come under attack in the Daily Herald in an article by Jack Griffin.

The Daily Herald promoted its stipend article on its web page.

Called “stipends,” they are payments to county officials for doing the jobs for which county taxpayers compensate them.

Who gets the money?

County clerks, court clerks, sheriffs, auditors, recorders, coroners and treasurers.

The so-called justification is that the county officials do work for state government, so state government should be paying the officials.

I can’t remember voting on the issue, so I assume they were passed in the 1980’s when I was in elective office remission.

Back in the late 1960’s when I was McHenry County Treasurer our office actually collected the inheritance tax for forwarding to the State Treasurer’s Office.  County Board member Tina Hill’s father John Licastro served as an Assistant Attorney General and brought such deposits into the office.

As I mentioned above, I think the reason is that state legislators want to encourage county officials not to challenge them.

The Daily Herald reports that the annual cost of these $6,500 stipends is $3.4 million.

The BGA’s Andy Shaw is quoted as saying, “…public officials in big counties around Chicago are very well compensated by county taxpayers and don’t need or deserve a bonus from the state, especially when the bonuses are also used to boost pensions, which adds millions of additional dollars in pension obligations.”

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