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St. Clair Co. Official Defends Audit as Routine

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock.com

Photo Credit: Thinkstock.com

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BELLEVILLE, Ill. (KMOX) - Is it an investigation, or a routine audit?

That’s the question some are asking as an Illinois state agency prepares to look at whether some St. Clair County part-time workers are getting more benefits than they have earned.

The part-timers are attorneys who work for the State’s Attorney or public defender’s office. At issue is whether they work enough hours to earn retirement benefits.

The Belleville News-Democrat reported the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund was “investigating” but St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern insists it is not an investigation.

“We asked three months ago for IMRF to come in and take a look at how we’re treating young attorneys who are working for the defender’s office or State’s Attorney’s office and to see if they qualify for IMRF or not,” Kern explains.

IMRF spokeswoman Linda Horrell confirms that the county did request the audit which she says was previously scheduled for October and that there is nothing unusual about the review.

Horrell also says questions about attorney enrollment are common across the state. Kern agrees.

“We’re no different in our hourly record keeping than practically every other jurisdiction in the state,” he said.

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