Local Government

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

A Victory for Enforcement of Administrative Adjudication

Many municipalities struggle with what to do about Adjudication Court scofflaws: property owners or vehicle owners who rack up violation after violation or parking ticket after parking ticket and refuse to pay or do not even show up for the proceedings.  Until two weeks ago, the McHenry County Circuit Court had refused to allow home rule municipalities to enforce their Administrative Adjudication judgments through the court.  The court’s refusal to allow the enforcement of administrative adjudication court judgments left municipalities powerless to collect their adjudication judgments when respondents refused to voluntarily pay their administrative adjudication fines.  We recently challenged the circuit court’s refusal to allow enforcement of administrative adjudication judgments in an appeal in the case of Lake in the Hills v. Dennis Niklaus, No. 2-13-0654.  The end result was a win for home rule municipalities and their administrative adjudication courts.

In the Niklaus case, a property owner had racked up over $45,000 in fines for continually violating the Village of Lake in the Hills’ ordinance prohibiting the placement of items in the roadway.  After the property owner continued to ignore the tickets issued to him and refused to pay his fines, we filed a copy of the adjudication court judgment in circuit court and then served a wage garnishment on the property owner’s employer.  The McHenry County Circuit Court then dismissed our proceedings and ruled that a home rule municipality could not enforce its administrative adjudication judgments in circuit court.  The ruling was particularly curious considering that the court recognized enforcement for non-home rule governments through the circuit court.  We appealed the ruling and on May 15, 2014, the Second District Appellate Court issued an opinion holding that “the method attempted by the Village to seek enforcement in this case was appropriate under division 2.1 of the Municipal Code and that once the orders were properly enrolled the Village could commence collection proceedings.”

The required procedure to enforce an administrative adjudication order in the circuit court is relatively simple.  Just as we argued in the appeal, the municipality need only wait until the time for administrative review has expired (typically 35 days) and then file a copy of the administrative adjudication order with the circuit clerk.  Once the administrative adjudication order is filed in the circuit court, the municipality can then issue wage garnishments to a respondent’s employer, file citations to discover assets to the respondent’s bank account (which allows the municipality to intercept funds in a respondent’s bank account), and can use any other collection tool allowed in the circuit courts.   As noted by the Appellate Court, use of this procedure by which the judgment is obtained in the administrative adjudication court but collected in the circuit court can greatly reduce litigation cost and allow for speedier resolution of ordinance violation matters.


Jennifer J. Gibson

Author: Jennifer J. Gibson


Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Illinois State Police Release Concealed Carry Restricted Signage Requirements

The ISP recently released the appropriate sign to display in order to restrict Concealed Carry licensees from carrying handguns onto or into restricted premises.

The ISP provides a pdf version of the sign, which can also be provided to a printing company to supply more permanent versions of the sign.

Please note that the sign’s dimensions are restricted by the legislation to be exactly 4” x 6” to satisfy the signage requirement.  Our earlier article addresses restricted areas and the need for posting signage on various local government properties.  Seemingly a larger version sign could be placed at vehicle entrances of municipal parks and other areas where handguns may not even be brought into the parking area and secured in a vehicle, to ensure visibility.  Best practice, however, would be to also post the smaller 4” x 6” sign, because it is the only sign that satisfies the technical signage requirement.

Local governments can now begin requisitioning the signage.

Brad Stewart

Author: Brad Stewart

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

ZRFM’s Illinois State Bar Association Articles Now Available

More than 20 articles published in Illinois State Bar Association newsletters and authored by Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle lawyers can be viewed now on zrfmlaw.com. ZRFM is the largest law firm in McHenry County, Illinois.

The articles address topics involving labor and employment, local government, administrative law, and antitrust and unfair competition. Individual newsletter articles can be located by linking from the titles listed in the publications section of each attorney’s Web site biography. They also appear below chronologically:

Friday, April 12th, 2013

Seminar for Newly Elected Illinois Officials Set for May 4

Newly elected officers, administrators, managers and long-standing elected officials may want to attend a half-day seminar on the ABCs of local government. The May 4 event is designed to give newly elected officials a jump start and to offer seasoned officers a refresher on the fundamentals of local government law, duties, and procedures.

The day begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Turnberry Country Club, 9600 Turnberry Trail, Lakewood. Registration starts at 8 a.m. and the day concludes with lunch once the program ends at 1 p.m.

You've-been-elected-2011Topics covered include local government meeting practice and procedures, Illinois “sunshine laws,” contracts, ethics and conflicts of interest rules, personnel, land use, finance and budget, and practical skills to increase effectiveness. The experienced team of Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle municipal lawyers will be available to field your questions. A representative from the McHenry County Council of Governments also will discuss the benefits of intergovernmental cooperation.

All attendees will receive a complimentary copy of Congratulations! You’ve Been Elected: Now What Do You Do? This book, now in its second edition and published by the Illinois Municipal League, serves as a useful handbook and resource for new and experienced officials.

To learn more about the seminar, please view the invitation on ZRFM’s local government law blog. To learn more about Congratulations! You’ve Been Elected: Now What Do You Do?, please view ZRFM’s books and publications page.

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

Northwest Herald Quotes ZRFM’s ‘Municipal Ten Commandments’

You've-been-elected-2011A cover story appearing in the March 29, 2013, edition of the Northwest Herald includes excerpts from a well-known section of the Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle book You’ve Been Elected! Now What Do You Do? A Practical Guide to Local Government

The print and online article by Emily K. Coleman titled “What to expect when you’re elected” referenced the guide to local government’s “Municipal Ten Commandments,” described on p. 48 of the book as the top practical tips for local government officials.

The commandments are:

  • Commandment 10: Don’t believe anyone who says, “Your predecessor promised . . .”
  • Commandment 9: We are all in relatively small communities so remember, almost everyone is related — be careful what you say and who you say it to. Watch out for foot and mouth disease: “Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won’t have a leg to stand on!”
  • Commandment 8: Don’t forget, the walls of the city/township/village hall have eyes and ears. Everything you say or do will be spread far and wide and subsequently posted on Facebook or shared with the media.
  • Commandment 7: Do your homework — For goodness sake at least read the packet! You don’t want your community to look dumb or unprepared — same for yourself. If an issue involves a physical site in your municipality (e.g., a zoning change) visit the site.
  • Commandment 6: Listen to the public, staff, and other elected officials. There are two sides to every story. Don’t create a policy in response to one person’s mistake.
  • Commandment 5: No surprises! Keep everyone informed.
  • Commandment 4: Communicate! Communicate! Communicate — with the public, each other, and staff.
  • Commandment 3: Don’t get into a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel! Make friends with the media and stay friends with the media! Don’t stonewall or withhold information, otherwise they will make it up, and you can’t retract it once it’s in print.
  • Commandment 2: You can’t do it by yourself! You are a part of a TEAM of elected officials and staff.
  • Commandment 1: Don’t make promises you or your municipality cannot keep! “Your city/township/village manager can do ANYTHING you want; he/she just can’t do EVERYTHING you want.”

To learn more about the second edition of ZRFM’s book, which is published by the Illinois Municipal League, or to order a copy, view the books and publications page of our website. To learn more about the authors, view the professional biographies of Richard G. Flood and Ruth Alderman Schlossberg.


Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Richard G. Flood Named Illinois Super Lawyer for 7th Time

Richard G. FloodRichard G. Flood, a named partner in McHenry County’s largest law firm, Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle, was named a 2012 “Illinois Super Lawyer” by SuperLawyers®, a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

Flood received this distinction, given to only 5 percent of Illinois lawyers, for the first time in 2005. His practice includes divorce and family law, local government law, civil litigation, and land use.

Flood also has been named an Illinois Leading Lawyer for several years, where he serves as an advisory board member. He has been selected by his peers in the areas of family law; governmental, municipal, lobbying and administrative law; land use, zoning and condemnation law; and both commercial and residential real estate law. Flood also consistently receives Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating, AV® Preeminent™.

An honors graduate of the University of Illinois and Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology, Flood is admitted to practice in Illinois. He also practices before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He is a member of the Federal Trial Bar.

Flood represents municipalities with 500 to 35,000 residents. He co-authored, with Ruth Alderman Schlossberg, Congratulations! You’ve Been Elected: Now What Do You Do? A Practical Guide to Local Government. During his family law career, Flood has handled more than 1,000 matters, many of which involved high net worth individuals and significant financial issues.

Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle serves clients especially in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin from offices in Crystal Lake, Chicago and Oak Brook. To learn more about ZRFM’s Super Lawyer, please view Richard Flood’s professional credentials. For more information about Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle or to arrange a meeting with one of our attorneys, please visit our contact page so we may respond to your inquiry promptly.

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

ZRFM Lawyers to Address Illinois Municipal League Conference

Richard G. FloodSeveral lawyers from Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle will speak on Saturday, Oct. 20, at the 99th annual convention of the Illinois Municipal League. The gathering takes place Oct. 18-20 at the Hilton Chicago Hotel, 720 South Michigan Ave.

Between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m., Ryan P. Farrell, Kelly A. Cahill and Ruth A. Schlossberg will make presentations at a session titled “Redeveloping Distressed Properties: Clearing Out the Backlog in Order to Move Forward.” The trio will be joined by John Green, director of the special asset group at Home State Bank in Crystal Lake. Illinois State Rep. Thaddeus Jones, who also is a Calumet City alderman, will moderate the session.

Among the topics to be discussed are the nuts and bolts of calling letters of credit or bonds to complete infrastructure improvements, the need to work out underlying development agreements, and distressed property challenges such as demolition and property maintenance.

Between 2:45 and 3:45 p.m., Richard G. Flood and Schlossberg will make presentations at a session titled “Open Meetings Act and FOIA in the Internet Age.” They will be joined by Matt Rogina, an assistant attorney general for the public access counselor’s bureau.

The session will use realistic, hypothetical situations. Rich Flood, a member of the 2012 Illinois Municipal League Resolutions Committee, will act as moderator. Both of the sessions featuring ZRFM attorneys will take place in Northwest Stevens 5 on the hotel’s lower level, north.

Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle is the largest law firm in McHenry County, Illinois. For more than 50 years, the firm has represented banks and represented local government units. The firm has offices in Crystal Lake, Chicago and Oak Brook. Please view our contact page if you have any questions for our lawyers or other professionals.

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Schlossberg Appointed to ISBA Local Government Section

Ruth Alderman Schlossberg has been appointed to the Local Government Law Section Council of the Illinois State Bar Association.

Schlossberg is one of 30 attorneys on the council, but the only lawyer in private practice in McHenry County, Illinois. Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle is the county’s largest law firm.

Schlossberg has practiced law for more than 20 years and has focused on local government law since 2003 for cost-conscious clients in McHenry and Lake counties. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Schlossberg also studied at the London School of Economics. She earned a juris doctor from Yale Law School.

According to the ISBA, the Local Government Law Section Council’s mission is to:

  • enhance the knowledge and professional capabilities of lawyers who devote time to the practice of the law relating to units of local government.
  • disseminate information and comment on legislative and judicial developments and their impact on units of local government.
  • make recommendations on legislation.
  • develop and communicate ideas to improve the functioning of units of local government.

With Richard G. Flood, Schlossberg co-authored the book Congratulations! You’ve Been Elected: Now What Do You Do? A Practical Guide to Local Government. The guide, published by the Illinois Municipal League, offers local public officials advice to help them “hit the ground running” and succeed in new leadership positions.

For Schlossberg’s professional credentials, please view Ruth Alderman Schlossberg’s biography. You may also wish to view her Illinois Municipal League conference video presentation, delivered with ZRFM local government law attorneys Richard G. Flood and Kelly A. Cahill

More information about the council can be found on the ISBA Local Government Law Section Council website.

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

ZRFM Adds Litigation, Estates, Local Government Lawyers

Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle, the largest law firm in McHenry County, Illinois, has added three lawyers who will assist clients in the firm’s civil litigation, estates and trusts, local government, personal injury, and business transactions practices. The new attorneys bring ZRFM’s lawyer count to 21.

David J. Loughnane has practiced law since 1972 in Illinois and Wisconsin. Loughnane’s state and federal civil litigation and trial work involving personal injury, healthcare, privacy and employment law have resulted in more than 60 jury verdicts and several verdicts in bench trials. He is a certified mediator and is counsel to the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois.

Andrew W. Holstine has practiced law since 2001. Holstine joins ZRFM after working as a business lawyer for a Northbrook-based estate planning boutique. He focuses on gift tax planning, legacy planning, estate and trust administration, succession planning, and business transactional work. He is vice president of the Chicago Farmers, a group of professionals and investors interested in production agriculture and agribusiness.

William C. Westfall is a first year associate concentrating on local government law and municipal traffic code enforcement. Westfall is a 2011 graduate of Northern Illinois University College of Law and a 2008 graduate of the University of Notre Dame.

“We’re extremely pleased that David Loughnane, Andrew Holstine and William Westfall have joined our firm,” says managing partner Richard G. Flood. “During a time when many law firms are experiencing layoffs and downsizing, Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle is proud to be building up its practices by hiring new and experienced attorneys. We are very pleased to have these lawyers serve our clients.”

For more information about these lawyers, please view the professional biographies of David Loughnane, Andrew Holstine and William Westfall.

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

ZRFM Shares Ideas on Effective Local Government

Richard G. Flood, Ruth Alderman Schlossberg and Kelly A. Cahill spoke on the topic of effective local government at the annual conference of the Illinois Municipal League. The conference took place Sept. 15-17, 2011, at the Hilton Chicago Hotel.

Their hourlong Sept. 16 presentation was titled, “You’ve Been Elected. Now What Do You Do?” A video of the event appears below. (Flood speaks first, followed by Schlossberg at the 15:50 mark and Cahill at 37:10.)

The practical session provided officials with a better understanding of their roles, powers and limitations. The session focused on a combination of theory and practice to help attendees make sure their term as an elected official is productive and satisfying.

The three attorneys practice local government law at ZRFM. Flood and Schlossberg co-authored a 170-page book for newly elected officials, published by the Illinois Municipal League, from which their presentation got its name. For more information, please view ZRFM’s Books and Publications.

During Flood’s tenure with Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle, the Crystal Lake-based firm has grown from six lawyers to 19 and from one to three offices. ZRFM is the largest law firm in McHenry County, Illinois. In addition to Flood’s renowned local government law practice, he also focuses on divorce and family law.

Schlossberg joined Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle in 2003. She is thoroughly familiar with all of the recently rewritten provisions of the Illinois “sunshine laws” — the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Illinois Open Meetings Act (OMA). She advises elected officials and government administrators on operating with increased certainty so they can streamline work and avoid unfunded expenses.

Cahill serves as a municipal attorney for the village of Algonquin and acts as counsel to the planning and zoning boards of the cities of McHenry and Genoa. She also practices employment law. Cahill speaks frequently on labor and employment law and provides training to various organizations on diversity and sexual harassment awareness.

For more about their professional credentials, please view the biographies of Richard Flood, Ruth Alderman Schlossberg and Kelly Cahill.