Winnebago County vs. Winnebago Circuit Court Going to Court

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Winnebago County is being take to court by its own Circuit Court over a funding fight.  Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a case against the county Tuesday on behalf of the court seeking additional budget dollars.

The dispute began when Circuit Court Chief Judge Joseph McGraw requested funds earlier this year in response to new State Supreme Court mandates, including more personnel to handle juvenile offenders in court and costs associated with the addition of another judge to the circuit.

County Board members balked at the request, saying the county was already millions in the red and could not afford to fund the extra personnel.  Both sides have been negotiating ever since, but have failed to reach an agreement.

In a news release issued Tuesday, Judge McGraw claims that a compromise proposal would have shifted funds from other areas of the court’s budget to fulfill the mandates without  the need for more revenue, but he says he is proceeding with a lawsuit against the county when that compromise was rejected.

The case will be heard by a judge in a circuit outside of Winnebago County appointed by the State Supreme Court.  The Court will be represented by Madigan’s office.

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