January 19, 2021

State's attorney clarifies that Legislature sets her salary

To the citizens of Putnam County:

I have read articles printed in both the Putnam County Record and the News Tribune that outlined more cuts made to the Putnam County budget. Within the articles, both papers included that the state’s attorney was given a raise; however, both papers failed to explain the genesis of the increase. I feel as though I need to clarify, as I have heard and read comments that are simply not based on fact.

Illinois statute sets the salary of all state’s attorneys within the state. Ninety percent of that salary is reimbursed by the state of Illinois to the county. The increase in pay was a 2.1 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) approved by the Legislature in 2018 and 2019.

This adjustment is due to the fact that state’s attorneys have not been given an adjustment in pay in over 10 years.

This is a statewide adjustment for all state’s attorneys. It is not a raise imposed by our board nor was it an increase that I asked for.

I thought it only appropriate to spell out that the cost-of-living adjustment was set by the state, as the state is the only entity that can change the salary of a state’s attorney.

When I was appointed in 2014, I made self-imposed cuts to my office that made sense and have saved the county money. My office has always operated under budget, even when faced with two murder prosecutions, with the first beginning in late 2016 and both concluding in late 2018.

I have made additional cuts to my operating budget yet again this year and will continue to try and find ways to streamline operations and be as efficient as possible.

All of us understand the serious financial situation Putnam County is now experiencing. Our County Board is working diligently to try to find answers to the difficult problems we face. As your state’s attorney, I will continue to work with our board and county officials to provide excellence for the people we serve.

Thank you.

Christina Mennie

Note to readers: Christina Mennie serves as state's attorney for Putnam County.