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Government LawyersThe newsletter of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Government Lawyers

October 2011, vol. 13, no. 1

Attorney General issues opinions

Under section 4 of the Attorney General Act (15 ILCS 205/4 (West 2010)), the Attorney General is authorized, upon request, to furnish written legal opinions to State officers and State’s Attorneys on matters relating to their official duties. The following is a summary of official opinion numbers 11-001 through 11-003 and informal opinion numbers I-11-001 through I-11-005 that may be of interest to the government bar.

Copies of an opinion may be requested by contacting the Opinions Bureau in the Attorney General’s Springfield office at (217)782-9070. Copies of official opinions may also be found on the internet at <http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/opinions/index.html>.

Opinion No. 11-001, Issued January 25, 2011

Affect of the Senate’s Sine Die Adjournment on Pending Gubernatorial Nominations

Based on the language of article V, subsection 9(a), of the Constitution, as well as the history of the provision, the term “session days” as used in subsection 9(a) extends beyond the biennial session. Accordingly, a nomination pending prior to the expiration of 60 session days when the Senate adjourns a session sine die does not expire with the adjournment. Rather, the nomination carries over into the new biennial session. Ill. Const. 1970, art. V, §9(a).

Opinion No. 11-002, Issued May 18, 2011

Authority of Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability over Certain State Employees’ Group Health Benefits Contracts

The phrase “with the advice and consent of the Commission” in section 6.2 of the State Employees Group Insurance Act of 1971 confers upon the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability the power to approve or disapprove self-insured health plans based upon its determination of whether it would be in the best interests of the State and its employees to self-insure in whole or in part. It does not authorize the Commission to approve individual health benefit provider or administrator contracts. 5 ILCS 375/5, 6.2 (West 2008).

Informal Opinion No. I-11-001, Issued January 13, 2011

County Board Control Over County Health Department Budget

A county board’s authority over the county’s finances and budget includes the discretion to approve or disapprove the budget submitted by the county’s board of health, including any specific item set out in the proposed budget. 55 ILCS 5/5-25010 (West 2008).

Informal Opinion No. I-11-002, Issued March 25, 2011

Private Use of Grain Elevator for Agricultural Purpose

A grain elevator that is used to store and dry grain, whether operated for private use or as a commercial business, is used as part of the “growing of farm crops” or the “processing [and] conditioning” of other farm seeds and grain. As a result, a private grain elevator serves an “agricultural purpose” within the meaning of section 5-12001 of the Counties Code. Consequently, a county may not prohibit the private use of a grain elevator on property zoned for business use as an exercise of its zoning authority under section 5-12001 of the Code. 55 ILCS 5/5-12001 (West 2008).

Informal Opinion No. I-11-003, Issued March 31, 2011

Compatibility of Offices – Elementary School Board Member and High School Board Member

Because of the potential conflicting duties, a person who serves on a high school board and an elementary school board simultaneously would be unable, in every instance, to represent the interests of both school districts fully and faithfully. Therefore, the offices of high school board member and elementary school board member are incompatible, and one person may not hold both positions simultaneously. Further, the acceptance of a second, incompatible office by the incumbent of another office constitutes an ipso facto resignation of the first office held. 105 ILCS 5/10-20 through 10-23.12 (West 2008).

Informal Opinion No. I-11-004, Issued June 16, 2011

Felony Forfeiture of Pension Benefits

The felony conviction of John Urbas, an employee of the State of Illinois, for the offense of theft, related to or arose out of or in connection with his employment as an Agency Vehicle Coordinator for the Illinois Department of Corrections, thereby requiring the forfeiture of his pension benefits. 40 ILCS 5/14-149 (West 2008).

Informal Opinion No. I-11-005, Issued July 1, 2011

Compatibility of Offices – County Sheriff and Fire Protection District Trustee

Because there is no conflict in duties, the office of county sheriff is compatible with the office of fire protection district trustee, and one person may hold both offices simultaneously. ■


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