Change to Open Meetings Act Requires Posting of Total Compensation Package
At this time of the year, most municipalities are in the process of establishing budgets and appropriations for the 2012/2013 fiscal year and establishing salaries for municipal employees.
Due to a change in the Illinois Open Meetings Act (the “Act”) that took effect January 1, 2012, additional notification to the public is now required. Section 7.3 of the Act imposes on each municipality participating in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund a duty to advise the public of the total compensation package of certain employees.
The Act provides that within six business days after an employer participating in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund approves a budget, that employer must post on its website the total compensation package for each employee having a total compensation package that exceeds $75,000 per year and that within six days before an employer participating in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund approves an employee’s total compensation package that is equal to or in excess of $150,000 per year, the employer must post on its website the total compensation package for that employee.
“Total compensation package” is defined in the Act to mean payment by the employer to the employee for salary, health insurance, a housing allowance, a vehicle allowance, a clothing allowance, bonuses, loans, vacation days granted, and sick days granted. Thus, determination and valuation of benefits must be undertaken. Municipalities, in determining the threshold, cannot simply rely upon salary determination.
If the municipality does not maintain a website, the municipality must post a physical copy of this information at the principal office of the municipality. If a municipality does maintain a website, it may choose to post a physical copy of this information at its principal office in lieu of posting the information directly on the website; however, the municipality must post directions on the website on how to access that information.