More on Christmas Presents with Public Funds

By:  Diane Benjamin

Just because MANY units of government think they have to right to fork over your money to employees for Christmas that doesn’t mean it’s legal.

This time I will steal some quotes from a story the Edgar County Watchdogs just posted:


As we have previously noted, Christmas Bonuses for public employees, or bonuses of any kind, violate state law (Article VII, Section 1 of the Constitution and the Wage Payment and Collection Act) when there are no written employment agreements spelling out such bonuses, along with measurable results required to obtain said bonuses.

According to the Illinois Administrative Code for the Wage Payment and Collection Act, “An employee has a right to an earned bonus when there is an unequivocal promise by the employer and the employee has performed the requirements set forth in the bonus agreement between the parties and for all of the required conditions for receiving the bonus set forth in the bonus agreement have been met.”

Without the written agreement, any bonuses are an impermissible gifting of public funds.

If any unit of government thinks they can legally give every employee a $50 gift certificate for Christmas, what keeps them from giving every employee much more?

They all need to knock it off!

So far the Town of Normal has been the worst offender!

Thanks John Kraft!

13 thoughts on “More on Christmas Presents with Public Funds

  1. The city should be required to make the employees give it back. This is wrong. I’m sure our city would never ask for the money back as it would put egg on their faces. So corrupt!


    1. The fact is if this were not the corrupt state of Illinois the city would be forced to recover these gifts. Those who gave them would be under investigation for violation of the law. But with the lack of people wiillining to do their job and enforce the law and AG’s unwilling to prosecute on behalf of the people, it ain’t gonna happen.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Diane yes. The last one was too busy protecting her father and current one covering up what he can for democrats. In neither case are the people of Illinois being protected at ANY level.
        Another example is the violation in public comment policy by Koos but you know this.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. To be honest, I have kept quiet on this subject because while ‘Christmas bonuses’ did seem like a poor use of public money when debt was high and taxes were going up, I also felt the practice was not out of line with private employers.

    Now that he legalities of the situation have been made perfectly clear, I agree the current practice needs to stop. There is an easy solution, though – Set up something where the bosses show appreciation for the employees without forcing the taxpayers to do so.

    Normal, for example, could informally set up something like this: Have each council member chip in $1K of their salary, the mayor ship in $2K, and the town manager chip in $6K or so, and all full-time employees can get a $25 gift certificate. Perhaps have department heads chip in to either increase the cards or reduce others’ needed donations. If you’re Really ambitious, you can set up a fund of some sort for the public to donate to, with or without earmarks like ‘Sam deserves this’ or ‘for the XYZ department’.


    1. A private employer that would be in the same financial position as normal or the state for that matter would ne saying this. Your bonus is the fact there is not a pink slip in your pay check. Most Christmas bonuses are directly linked to the financial position at the end of the year of the business. CEFCU bases member extraordinary dividends at year end this way and employee bonuses as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah sure demand the Police arrest the “law violators”. And they will roll their eyes and inform you that it is a civic matter not a criminal matter. Police can not arrest anyone “just” because you think something illegal has happened.

    If you read at all the explanation given to you on this about different bonuses you posted last December: “Diane is partially correct when she says that employee contracts are required for employees to receive bonuses, but only as it pertains to EARNED bonuses where employees have an expectation of receiving a bonus when required conditions have been met by both parties. In those cases, employee contracts that include the criteria required to receive the earned bonus are mandatory. Gratuitous and discretionary bonuses are different, however, and do not require an employee contract. GRATUITOUS bonuses DO NOT obligate the employee to meet certain criteria, nor is the employer obligated to give them. Discretionary DISCRETIONARY BONUSES ARE BONUSES WHERE THE EARNING CRITERIA OF THE BONUS IS INDEFINITE OR UNCERTAIN, but is usually tied to performance. All types of bonuses are income and have to be taxed as income whether they are paid in cash or another form such as gift certificates.

    So these gift certificates were gratuitous bonuses better known as gifts and did not obligate the employee or employer to meet any criteria. The gift certificates were probably used in local businesses benefiting the Normal/Bloomington area.


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