MOUNT VERNON – Illinois attorney general Lisa Madigan seeks to overturn an order from St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert LeChien, who let her intervene in a suit over the state payroll long enough to exclude her from it.
Madigan filed an interlocutory appeal at the Fifth District on Feb. 24, eight days after losing in LeChien’s chancery court.
He denied her motion to dissolve an order he signed in 2015, preserving a normal payroll in the absence of appropriations.
Madigan claims the order has allowed Gov. Bruce Rauner and legislators to avoid their constitutional duty to adopt a budget.
She wanted LeChien to dissolve the order as of Feb. 28, so Rauner and legislators would have time to compromise.
Now Madigan must await the arrival of the circuit court record at the Fifth District before she can begin to make her case there.
Local 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and smaller unions filed the suit in 2015, after their contracts expired.
They named Rauner and former comptroller Leslie Munger as defendants.
Munger retained special counsel, but Madigan objected and argued that she should represent Munger.
Madigan pleaded that under federal law, the state had to pay minimum wage to all employees until legislators adopted a budget and Rauner signed it.
Munger adopted the union’s position, pleading that sudden conversion to universal minimum wage would create chaos and cause real harm.
LeChien listened to counsel for both Madigan and Munger at a hearing, and ordered Munger to keep running a normal payroll.
Rauner and unions then adopted a tolling agreement, preserving the status quo until execution of new contracts or declaration of an impasse by both sides.
Rauner declared an impasse in January 2016, but the unions have challenged the declaration in courts and at the state Labor Relations Board.
The current case at the heart of the dispute awaits action at the Fourth District appellate court in Springfield.
In February, Local 31 sought to strengthen its stance at the labor board by pleading that it broke any impasse with proposals it offered on Jan. 9.
“These proposals included a four year freeze in general wage increases and increases in the costs of health insurance for members of the union’s bargaining units,” Local 31 counsel Stephen Yokich wrote to the labor board on Feb. 3.