(Heartland Newsfeed) — Despite being directed by a court to employ an assistant state’s attorney for legal issues regarding Altamont Ambulance, Effingham County never technically employed Chris Koester, who nevertheless received at least $62,000 in compensation, according to the Edgar County Watchdogs (ECW).
“Does anyone see a problem when an Assistant State’s Attorney, who by law is an employee, can bill for conversations with his boss, the State’s Attorney?” ECW co-founder Kirk Allen wrote. “The whole purpose of setting a salary and making them an employee is to protect public funds.”
The ECW requested information related to the assistant state’s attorney’s wages or salary, but the query was directed to the county’s insurance company, which is covering the expenses for the legal fees on the Ambulance matter. Koester, the attorney billing the insurance company, has no W2 or 1099 on file as an employee of the county, the ECW reported.
The ECW analyzed Koester’s billing records between December 2014 and August 2016 and discovered that he had been paid more than $62,000 for just under 255 hours of work – amounting to less than seven weeks.
“Had this attorney been operating as an employee as the judge and law outlines, I think most would agree [that setting] his salary and treating him as an employee would have saved the taxpayers a small fortune as more work could have been done than 6.37 weeks of service,” Allen wrote.