Former Illinois Lawmaker Sues to Recoup Pay

CHICAGO (CN) – A former Illinois state senator claims the government owes him for unpaid days off and a lack of pay increases during his terms, which he says violates the state constitution.

Michael Noland, a Democrat from Elgin, filed a lawsuit Thursday against Illinois Comptroller Susan Mendoza, seeking a declaration that several bills passed while he was in office that eliminated legislators’ cost-of-living increases and imposed furlough days went against state law. He also wants a writ of mandamus for payment of the missing money.

“The Illinois Constitution of 1970 expressly – and unequivocally – prohibits any ‘changes’ to the salaries of legislators during their terms of office,” Noland says in his complaint, which he brought in Cook County Circuit Court.

Noland served in the Illinois Senate for the 22nd District, covering Chicago suburbs in Cook and Kane Counties, from 2007 to 2017, deciding not to run for reelection last year.

He says that during that time, starting in 2009, a bill was passed each year that eliminated the cost-of-living increases that had been guaranteed since 1990 for a one-year period.

From 2009 to 2013, the General Assembly also passed bills forcing its members to take either six or 12 unpaid days off.

Noland claims he should receive pay for 48 days he had to take off as well as back pay for the cost-of-living increases he should have earned.

According to the comptroller’s database, Noland’s salary for his last full year in 2015 was just over $78,000.

“The Comptroller’s duty to issue the payments is both non-discretionary, because it is mandated by the Illinois Constitution and by state law, and ministerial. The Comptroller’s failure to make these payments is in violation of the Illinois Constitution and state law,” the lawsuit states.

Noland is represented by Michael J. Scotti III, a special assistant attorney general and attorney with Roetzel & Andress LPA in Chicago. Scotti says Noland is expected to issue a statement about his lawsuit on Monday.

The comptroller’s office did not immediately respond Friday to a request for comment.

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