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New legislation could give county clerks a taxpayer-funded raise

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(The Center Square) – Most county clerks and recorders in Illinois could get a pay increase. A state lawmaker introduced a measure that would change the way county clerks and recorders across the state get their taxpayer-funded salaries.

The Illinois Association of County Clerks and Recorders is a proponent of Senate Bill 2131 from state Sen. Doris Turner, D-Springfield, which says clerks have to be paid at least 80% of what the state’s attorney in that county is paid and that the pay is to mostly come from state taxpayer funds.

Gretchen DeJaynes, the association’s former legislative chair and McDonough County Clerk, said under the law the county still has to pay benefits and payroll taxes.

“[Under the proposed law] 80% of the salary would be reimbursed [by the state] and right now the state does that for public defenders, state’s attorneys, the assessor and the sheriff,” said DeJaynes.

DeJaynes said the county is still going to pay clerks but they’re just being reimbursed by the state. DeJaynes said there wouldn’t be a conflict of interest.

“The county is still paying us, they get a reimbursement through the state. It would be no different than the sheriff or the state’s attorney … are they afraid to speak out against legislation that happens because they get a reimbursement for their salary?” asked DeJaynes.

Turner introduced the bill and has the support of state Sen. Sally Turner, R-Beason, the former Logan County clerk. She said clerks aren’t paid enough and work extremely hard jobs.

“[The clerks] are doing work for the state that the state doesn’t pay them for anyways,” said Turner.

DeJaynes said clerks have a lot of responsibilities.

“We have elections. I laugh and say, ‘I could make headlines for elections twice a year, every year,’ I try not to. We do have a lot of responsibilities and I do think they’re just looking at equity across the board,” said DeJaynes.

The bill remains in committee.

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