© 2023 Peoria Public Radio
A joint service of Bradley University and Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Peoria County auditor salary remains in place for now

A gavel rests on a judge's bench in a blurry courtroom. The text "WCBU Courts" sits on top of that photo.

Legal counsel for embattled Peoria County Auditor Jessica Thomas was back in court Tuesday after an Illinois Appellate Court ruling finding against her in June.

The Fourth District court found that Thomas had no "ascertainable right" to the position of auditor after a referendum to eliminate the office passed last November.

County attorney Lisa Meador hoped to address two matters: ending the ongoing payment of Thomas' salary for the county auditor position and denying a request for the county to pay Thomas' attorney fees.

She argued Thomas is not performing the duties of auditor, her attorney payment is a private matter and the county has an obligation to be mindful with taxpayer dollars.

Thomas' attorney Justin Penn argued the concern about taxpayer dollars fell outside the scope of the case, especially in a county courtroom. He claimed taking either action would be preemptive, ahead of the results of appeals to the appellate court ruling and a potential escalation to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Thomas did not appear in person on Tuesday.

Ultimately, Judge Stewart Umholtz found considering the motions fell outside of the jurisdiction of the county court. The Fourth District Appellate Court has yet to issue a mandate enforcing its ruling.

The case is set aside for review, with a status hearing scheduled for late August.

Jessica Thomas is a member of the WCBU Community Advisory Board.

We depend on your support to keep telling stories like this one. You – together with donors across the NPR Network – create a more informed public. Fact by fact, story by story. Please take a moment to donate now and fund the local news our community needs. Your support truly makes a difference.

Collin Schopp is a reporter at WCBU. He joined the station in 2022.