A St. Clair County judge has ordered the Illinois comptroller’s office to fully pay state workers, even though the General Assembly and the governor have yet to agree on a budget.
Judge Robert Lechien in a verbal order Thursday sided with 13 public service unions that asked they be paid in full because not doing so would violate their collective bargaining agreements.
Among the unions party to the case are the Illinois Federation of Public Employees, the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor and the Illinois Nurses Association.
In a statement, Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger applauded the decision.
“Today’s court ruling gives my office the authorization it needs to begin processing payroll for all state employees,” Munger said. “It is a welcome development that advances my goal of complying with federal mandate and doing everything in my power under the law to compensate workers for the services they are already providing the state.”
However, the ruling is in conflict with Cook County Judge Diane Larsen’s ruling on Tuesday.
Larsen said the state may only pay workers who are covered under the federal minimum wage laws. Most state employees would only receive partial pay during the budget stalemate, under Larson’s ruling.
Munger and Gov. Bruce Rauner have appealed that decision.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office has said the state cannot pay employees without an authorized budget in place.
The general assembly and the governor have not agreed on how to close a $4 billion budget shortfall.