Member Groups

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

March 2012, vol. 13, no. 3

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 Nos. 11-003 through 11-006 and informal opinion No. I-11-006 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 <>.

Opinion No. 11-003—Issued December 8, 2011

Felony Forfeiture of Pension Benefits

The felony convictions of Rod Blagojevich, former Governor of Illinois, for the offenses of wire fraud, conspiracy and attempt to commit extortion, bribery concerning programs receiving Federal funds, conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, and making false statements or representations, related to or arose out of or in connection with his service as the Governor of Illinois, thereby requiring a forfeiture of his pension benefits. Under section 2-156 of the Pension Code, however, Blagojevich is entitled to a full refund of his contributions made to the General Assembly Retirement System. 40 ILCS 5/2-156 (West 2010).

Opinion No. 11-005—Issued December 23, 2011

Applicability of Municipal and County Zoning Ordinances to School Districts

Statutory construction of the county and municipal zoning statutes in conjunction with the School Code reveals that school districts should comply with local zoning ordinances, except in the limited instances in which such compliance would frustrate the school districts’ statutory objectives. This interpretation coincides with the Illinois case law trend favoring compliance by public entities with local land use regulations where possible, to effectuate the objectives of land use regulations as well as the statutory objectives of the public entities. 55 ILCS 5/5-12001 (West 2010); 65 ILCS 5/11-13-1 (West 2010), as amended by Public Act 97-496, effective August 22, 2011; 105 ILCS 5/10-20, 10-22.13a (West 2010).

Opinion No. 11-006—Issued December 30, 2011

Beverage Vending and Pouring Rights Contract

Subsection 1.5550(a) of the State’s Standard Procurement Rules (the Rules) generally authorizes a prospective bidder that is aggrieved with a procurement action to file a protest provided that the bidder has evidence of a violation of the Illinois Procurement Code or any associated rules. Under the plain and unambiguous language of subsection 1.5550(d) of the Rules, when a protest has been timely filed before an award of a contract has been made, a procurement officer shall make no award of the contract until the protest has been resolved. Based on the information provided, the Illinois Department of Revenue did not resolve a filed protest until after the contract had been awarded. Accordingly, assuming that the protest was properly filed, the contract was improperly awarded under section 1.5550 of the Rules. 30 ILCS 500/20-50, 20-75 (West 2006); 44 Ill. Adm. Code §1.5550, as amended by 30 Ill. Reg. 17305, 17381 (effective October 20, 2006).

Informal Opinion No. I-11-006—Issued August 4, 2011

Compensating County Board Members on a Per Meeting Basis

Under the plain and unambiguous language of section 2-3008 of the Counties Code, at the time of decennial reapportionment, the county board shall determine whether to compute the salary of county board members on a per diem basis, on an annual basis, or on a combined per diem and annual basis. The term “per diem” refers to compensation for expenses which is intended to cover the entire 24 hours in a day. Giving the term “per diem” its commonly understood meaning, therefore, it is clear that a proposed method for calculating the salaries of county board members based on the number of meetings attended does not constitute a per diem method. Consequently, section 2-3008 does not authorize a county board to compute the salary of its members on a “per meeting” basis. 55 ILCS 5/2-3008 (West 2010). ■