Franklin County State's Attorney Evan Owens has corresponded with the office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, requesting payment be made to employees of the Second Judicial Circuit probation and detention programs.
In a letter dated June 29, Owens says he knows Madigan will be petitioning the Cook County court for an order to allow Comptroller Susana Mendoza to continue to pay state employees' salaries without appropriation from the General Assembly.
"I humbly suggest the Illinois Attorney General add the probation and detention officers of the Second Judicial Circuit as state employees in her prayer for relief with the declaratory judgment petition or that the director of the AOIC (Administrative Office of Illinois Courts) attempt to intervene in that action to assert his employees' rights to continued payment by the State," Owens wrote.
The county board was made aware of the letter at its committee meetings Monday and will take action on it, probably in the form of an ordinance, at its regular meeting July 18, according to Chairman Randall Crocker.
"Franklin County can not borrow any more money and it appears that we have run out of time and options. I suggest the Director notify his employees that there is no money to pay for their work unless the Comptroller is ordered to pay them in the same manner as other State employees," Owens continued in his letter to Debra Barnes.
Treasurer Keith Jones reported the county is owed $412,000 in reimbursement salaries for detention and $563,000 for probation. The last payment received was for November 2016, Jones said at last month's committee meetings.
The county was forced to issue a tax anticipation warrant of $700,000 from a local financial institution recently to meet its payroll and to pay accumulated monthly claims. That money will be paid back approximately 30 days after the county receives real estate tax collections from its first installment, due July 31.