Recent legislative changes to the Open Meetings Act (“OMA”) impose a new requirement upon School Districts as employers participating in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (“IMRF”). Public Act 97-0609 amends the OMA to require an employer participating in IMRF to post on its website the total compensation package for each employee that has a total compensation package exceeding $75,000 per year. For more highly compensated employees, the law has an additional requirement. The new law requires an employer participating in the IMRF to post on its website, at least six days prior to approval, any employee compensation package in excess of $150,000. “Total compensation package” is defined in the statute as payment by the employer for salary, health insurance, a housing allowance, a vehicle allowance, a clothing allowance, bonuses, loans, and vacation and sick days granted. Because of a technical discrepancy in the legislation, it is unclear whether this new requirement applies only to IMRF employees or to all school district employees, including TRS employees. The Illinois Association of School Boards has recently requested clarification on the law from the Illinois Attorney General. Until the dispute is fully resolved, we recommend that School Districts take the more conservative approach and apply the law to all employees, even those who are not IMRF employees.
Section 10-20.47 of the School Code already requires each school board to post on its website the base salary and benefits of the superintendent and all administrators and teachers employed by the school district. This information already being posted should satisfy the basic requirements of the new legislation. However, because of the salary threshold, there may be a few IMRF employees at a school district whose compensation packages will need to be added to the information already being posted.
While the changes will be somewhat modest for school districts, it is important to carefully consider the advanced posting requirement for more highly compensated individuals. This requirement needs advanced planning to ensure that the information is posted at least six days prior to a school board meeting in which the individual is hired or the compensation package is approved. These rules took effect beginning January 1, 2012.