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The Public Servant
The newsletter of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Government Lawyers

June 2002, vol. 3, no. 4

Attorney General issues opinions

Under section 4 of the Attorney General Act (15 ILCS 205/4 (West 2000)), the Attorney General is authorized, upon request, to give written legal opinions to state officers and state's attorneys on matters relating to their official duties. The following is a summary official opinions 02-001 through 02-005 and informal opinions I-02-001 through I-02-011 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 official opinions may also be found on the Internet at opinions/opinions.html.

Opinion No. 02-002, issued March 5, 2002: sole source procurement of accounting services. The Department of the Lottery's contract for professional accountant services for conducting and observing Lottery drawings should have been based upon a competitive request for proposals, rather than as a sole source procurement, since there appears to be more than one economically feasible supplier of the services. 30 ILCS 500/20-35, 35-30 and 35-35 (West 2000); 44 Ill. Admin. Code 1.2035 (2001).

Opinion No. 02-003, issued March 5, 2002: residency requirement for veterans' educational benefits. The provision in section 30-14.2 of the School Code which conditions distribution of scholarships to MIA/POWs, disabled veterans and their dependents, on Illinois residency at the time the veteran entered military service violates the Federal constitutional right to equal protection. 105 ILCS 5/30-14.2 (West 2000).

Opinion No. 02-004, issued March 5, 2002: indemnification of sheriff for injuries arising out of crime prevention programs. Crime prevention is among the statutory duties of the sheriff. Therefore, the sheriff and his or her deputies are entitled to indemnity under section 5-1002 of the Counties Code in the event any claim is brought against them in connection with crime prevention programs conducted by the sheriff. 55 ILCS 5/5-1002, 3-6021 (West 2000).

Informal Opinion No. I-02-001, issued January 4, 2002: compensation for special assistant state's attorney. A special assistant state's attorney cannot properly be compensated for his or her services directly by fees charged to respondents held in contempt of court for failure to pay child support. Such an arrangement not only fails to comply with the compensation requirements of section 3-9008 of the Counties Code, but also violates article VI, section 14 of the Illinois Constitution of 1970. 55 ILCS 5/3-9008, 3-9009; 50 ILCS 315/2 (West 2000); Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, sec. 14.

Informal Opinion No. I-02-002, issued January 8, 2002: county juvenile justice councils subject to the Open Meetings Act. (1) A gathering of an informal, ad hoc group of public officials for the purpose of discussing the establishment of a county juvenile justice council is not a meeting of a public body within the provisions of the Open Meetings Act. (2) County juvenile justice councils are administrative, advisory or subsidiary bodies of the county. As such, county juvenile justice councils are public bodies whose meetings must be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Open Meetings Act. 5 ILCS 120/1.02 (West 2000), as amended by Public Act 92-468, effective August 22, 2001; 705 ILCS 405/6-12 (West 2000).

Informal Opinion No. I-02-006, issued March 6, 2002: county clerk's issuance of a marriage license to himself. An officer charged by statute with performing duties which are purely ministerial, such as the issuance of a marriage license upon proof readily ascertainable facts, is not disqualified from performing those duties based upon a personal interest in the subject matter. 750 ILCS 5/203 (West 2000).

Informal Opinion No. I-02-007, issued March 7, 2002: personnel policy, payroll accounting and internal control of county official's offices. County officers whose selection and compensation is provided for by statute or by the constitution are not county employees subject to a personnel policy adopted by the county board. The employees of those officers having, by statute, internal control over the operations of their offices are not subject to county personnel rules, absent the consent of each employing officer. The personnel policies of the circuit clerk are subject to the control of the court, not the county. The selection, qualification and discipline of the public defender and his assistants and clerks are subject to the control of the court, but the compensation of his assistants and clerks are subject to county board policy. The county board may implement a payroll accounting system with respect to the employees of county officers, to the extent that the system does not impermissibly require that such officers adopt county personnel policies. 55 ILCS 5/5-1005(16); 3-4004, 3-4007, 3-4008 (West 2000).

Informal Opinion No. I-02-008, issued March 19, 2002: automobile insurance coverage for State university spring break trip. Consistent with the long-standing interpretation of self-insurance coverage for automobile liability provided through the Department of Central Management Services for state-owned vehicles, no coverage is available for a state university spring break trip involving a small group of fee-paying students and university staff. 20 ILCS 405/405-105 (West 2000).

Informal Opinion No. I-02-010, issued March 27, 2002: sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages at park district golf course. Section 6-15 of the Liquor Control Act of 1934 authorizes the sale or delivery of alcoholic liquors in any building owned by a park district organized under the Park District Code. The popularly understood meaning of the term "building" is a structure. It follows, therefore, that alcoholic liquors may be sold or delivered in a golf course clubhouse, a clubhouse banquet facility or a halfway house but not a motorized golf cart. Since the enactment of Public Act 82-917, effective January 1, 1983, park districts have been required to obtain a local liquor license prior to selling alcoholic liquors in park district-owned buildings. Whether consumption of alcoholic liquors is limited to the buildings where alcoholic liquors are sold may depend upon local regulations. 70 ILCS 5/8-19 (West 2000); 235 ILCS 5/6-15 (West 2000), as amended by Public Act 92-512, effective January 1, 2002.