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Monday, September 23, 2019

IMRF argues county board member should not be allowed to revise history with amended timesheets


By Record News | Apr 30, 2019

BELLEVILLE – Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund trustees have asked St. Clair County Associate Judge Julie Katz to reject timesheets that county board member Robert Allen changed after the fund audited him. 

“Amending documentation is not a due process right,” IMRF counsel Vladimir Shuliga of Oak Brook wrote in a brief April 15 in ongoing litigation. “Ordinarily, a person’s memory fades over time and documentation written shortly after a given event is more reliable than documentation written much later after the given event.”

Prior to Jan. 1, 2018, county board members and other elected officials who participate in IMRF used to be able to report hours worked on a good faith basis at a minimum of 12 per week, or 600 per year. But a timesheet law passed in 2017 tightened requirements for pension benefits, with officials having to log 20 hours per week on a timesheet, or 1,000 annually, to qualify.

Former chief judge John Baricevic sued the fund for Allen last September, after an August decision to terminate his participation.

The lawsuit claims that Allen inadvertently left some hours from four monthly timesheets. 

Baricevic wrote that Allen wasn’t given specific directions and that some meetings and time spent as a board member weren’t itemized on timesheets. 

According to Shuliga, the fund audited Allen’s timesheets and found he reported 589.25 hours from September 2016 to August 2017. 

“Therefore, plaintiff did not meet the 600 hour standard required for continued IMRF participation,” Shuliga wrote. 

The fund gave Allen notice, and he appealed on Jan. 9, 2018. Three days later, Allen submitted amended timesheets for the last four months of 2016. 

“Plaintiff only attempted to submit amended timesheets after he learned that the 12 months of timesheets he originally submitted did not exceed 600 hours,” Shuliga wrote. 

He wrote that Allen would have the court believe that in four months he didn’t include social media activity, yet more than a year later he recalled spending five hours on social media at the end of each month. 

He wrote that Allen admitted at a hearing that his memory didn’t work that well going back to 2016. 

He further wrote that nearly identical entries at the end of each month were at best an expansion of what would be considered official government business. At worst, he wrote, they were fraudulent. 

“Plaintiff’s attempt to revise history is an example of the reliability issues that would arise if amended timesheets were permitted,” he wrote. 

Katz has set a status conference June 3.      

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St. Clair County Board Twentieth Judicial Circuit of Illinois

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