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2008 Articles

Appellate Court upholds village’s contractual right to indemnification for its own alleged negligence By Michael D. Bersani April 2008 In two recent cases of interest, the Illinois Supreme and Appellate Courts have addressed the validity and enforceability of indemnification provisions, specifically provisions that require indemnification for one’s own negligence.
Cable TV—What should your municipality be doing? By Marty Shanahan, Jr. March 2008 The Cable and Video Competition Law of 2007 permits cable service and video service providers to obtain State-issued authorization to provide cable service or video service.
Conflicts of interest of attorneys representing units of government—A short quiz By John H. Brechin January 2008 Conflicts or the perception of a conflict are part of the everyday practice of law.
Content-based regulations run afoul of the First Amendment—Pooh-Bah Enterprises, Inc. v. County of Cook By John H. Brechin February 2008 In 1999, the City and County amended their amusement tax ordinances with the intent to foster the production of live performances that offer theatrical, musical or cultural enrichment.
Disability pensions –What constitutes an act of duty? By John H. Brechin June 2008 The recent case of Sarkis v. City of Des Plaines involved this very issue.
Elections—When does an arrearage make a person ineligible for an elective municipal office? By John H. Brechin May 2008 Two recent cases have addressed questions concerning eligibility to run for political office and provide welcome guidance to municipal electoral boards which have to rule on objections raising these issues.
Eminent domain—How do you value a leasehold interest? By John H. Brechin October 2008 In 2002, IDOT filed an eminent domain action to acquire a portion of property owned by the Defendant, East Side Development.
Eminent domain—SWIDA is still alive! By John H. Brechin December 2008 In the lawsuit prior to City of Chicago v. Midland Smelting Company, the City attempted to acquire Midland’s property through its use of the power of eminent domain.
Eminent domain—Who is an owner? By John H. Brechin October 2008 The Anderson case involved the issue of who is properly considered an owner in an eminent domain proceeding and thereby entitled to the statutory rights attendant thereto.
Enforceability of contractual severance provisions in the public sector By John H. Brechin February 2008 In Village of Oak Lawn v. Faber, 1-06-2622, decided December 21, 2007, the 1st District Appellate Court considered whether a severance package offered to Mr. Faber passed legal muster.
A felony does not always mean a forfeiture of pension benefits By John H. Brechin September 2008 Romano v. Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago involved an appeal from the judgment of the Circuit Court of Cook County confirming a decision of the Board of Trustees of the Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund, which found that as a consequence of his conviction of a felony, Romano forfeited all benefits he may have had as a participant in the Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago.
Forced annexation—Are roads included in the calculation of acreage? By John H. Brechin September 2008 The sole issue of Bowers v. City of Rockford was whether the 60-acre statutory limitation in Section 7-1-13 of the Illinois Municipal Code includes interior highways.
Handbills, soliciting, and the First Amendment By John H. Brechin September 2008 The lesson of Horina v. City of Granite City is that any regulations on solicitation or other First Amendment activities must be solidly based in fact and law.
The Illinois Public Labor Relations Act—Who is a Supervisor? By John H. Brechin August 2008 The recent decision of  City of Washington v. Illinois Labor Relations Board and Laborers International Union of North America, Local 231 examined this issue again in the context of determining who in the City of Washington’s Public Services Department were properly classified as supervisors.
Indemnification agreements enforceable for municipality’s own negligence By Maureen E. Riggs May 2008 On February 29, 2008, in the case of Nicor Gas Co. v. Village of Wilmette, 2008 WL 564138, the First District Appellate Court upheld the validity of indemnification agreements that indemnify a municipality for its own negligence if such agreements are clear and explicit.
The Local Records Act and Destruction of Public Records By Maryann Bullion March 2008 If one of your local government clients deletes an e-mail or throws away a file that contains information that should be considered a public record, they could be charged with a Class 4 felony.
New rules for vacancies in municipal offices By Jenette M. Schwemler January 2008 House Bill 962 amends the Illinois Municipal Code provisions regarding eligibility for election or appointment and vacancies in elective offices.
The Open Meetings Act – Informality can be harmful to your legal health By John H. Brechin December 2008 Wyman v. Schweighart involved a complaint alleging the Defendants violated the Open Meetings Act in five different ways.
Pension funds vs. municipalities: Soon at a courthouse near you? By James E. Schrempf August 2008 By now, most of us have probably seen the reports on the critical condition of Illinois’ public employee retirement funds. 
Proper standard of review for Constitutional claims against zoning enactments By John H. Brechin July 2008 The Illinois Supreme Court, on June 5, 2008 issued its opinion in the case of Napleton v. Village of Hinsdale.
Prosecution of municipal ordinances violations and a preview of the proposed Supreme Court Rules addressing them By Mark C. Palmer April 2008 On January 28, 2008, the Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee held its annual public hearing and included on the agenda was the proposal to create new Illinois Supreme Court Rules 570-581 (“Proposed Rules”).
The Public Safety Employee Benefits Act – What is an emergency? By John H. Brechin December 2008 On November 4, 2008, the Second District Appellate Court issued its unanimous opinion upholding benefits for a police officer under the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act.
Recent issues in Illinois liquor laws & enforcement By Mark C. Palmer July 2008 Illinois Public Act 92-0503 became effective on January 1, 2002 and enhanced the responsibilities of local liquor commissioners (typically mayors or presidents and their acting deputies) to create underage alcohol (and tobacco) enforcement policies and procedures
Reppert v. SIU: 4th District decision—A commentary By Phillip B. Lenzini May 2008 Essentially, the decision in the case of Reppert v. Southern Illinois University reversed the trial court’s summary judgment on behalf of SIU in the Freedom of Information Act case seeking release of the employment contracts of several SIU employees.
A state requirement that voters present photo identification in order to vote does not violate the Fourteenth Amendment By John H. Brechin June 2008 On April 28th, 2008, the United States Supreme Court in a six to three decision affirmed the trial court and Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, No. 07-21.
Tax increment financing in Chicago By Leslie Hairston July 2008 In the firsthand experiences of the author, there appear to be several ways in which the City of Chicago, in its practical utilization of TIF, is failing to adhere to this fundamental purpose for the program and actually may be undermining potential economic development in Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods.
Township Code amendment update By Maryann Bullion October 2008 The 95th General Assembly recently made several important changes to the Township Code (hereinafter “Code”).
Wade: The Supreme Court’s final word on Section 3-115 of the Pension Code By Carlos S. Arévalo June 2008 This article examines the conflicting interpretations of Section 3-115, namely whether physicians retained by a pension board must all agree and certify that the officer is disabled, or whether it requires that the physicians simply address the issue of the officer’s disability status in their certificates. Finally, this article addresses how the Supreme Court has resolved this conflict in its recent decision of Wade v. City of North Chicago Police Pension Board.
Zoning vested rights By John H. Brechin September 2008 The 1st District Appellate Court reviewed the principles of zoning vested rights in an expansive 26-page opinion of Cribbin v. City of Chicago.