Followup: Illegal meetings

By:  Diane Benjamin

Yesterday I did not receive a response from the State’s Attorney or the Sheriff.  The illegal joint meeting between the Council and the Library Board took place.

Bloomington attorney Jeff Jurgens admitted in an email the two meetings now posted on the Library Board website were not posted 48 hours in advance.  He used this excuse for why the meetings could be held anyway:

Section 2.02(b) specifically says that the “failure of a public body to post on its website notice of any meeting or the agenda of any meeting shall not invalidate any meeting or any actions taken at a meeting.”  5 ILCS 120/2.02(b).

Start the celebrating now!  According to a LAWYER getting huge bucks from the City of Bloomington, NO public body ever has to post a meeting again!  It’s immaterial that this section of the law hasn’t changed since 2013.  Why has anybody been complying with posting agendas?  According to Jurgens posting agendas is optional.

Seriously Jeff?  Worse, the Sheriff and evidently the States Attorney’s office fell for the same gimmick.  Jurgens quoted the last sentence in paragraph (b) while completely ignoring parts (a) and (c).  That statement only applies if it was impossible to post to the website under extraordinary circumstances.

The library has another illegal meeting tonight – that agenda was posted about 36 hours in advance – not the required 48.

Guarantee:  Nobody will care, laws are for the serfs not government.

The report I received from the meeting:

Buragas and Mathy wanted to move the library closer to the BCPA.  The rest of the Board has visions of a Utopian government complex and retail right where it is.

Since David Hales no longer shows comparative library traffic in his City Manager’s report, this is from the May Library packet:

Circulation continues to decline, but users are a little higher.  The library is now a social and fun club where parents can take their kids for free or mostly free.

The essential services government is required to perform – like fix the roads – aren’t possible.

Quality of life at your expense is more important.  The library needs more room to entertain.




12 thoughts on “Followup: Illegal meetings

  1. To me it all depends on who is doing the counting. Wouldn’t the Library staff have every incentive to bolster their attendance numbers? It’s like when they announce a crowd of 5,000 at a sporting event as 6,500 to make things sound better. It’s the same with bus ridership. We all see busses with 0-2 people on there, but the region doesn’t seem to care that we don’t need huge, expensive busses in most areas.

    How about fixing the roads? How about fixing water/sewer infrastructure? How about paying down debt? How about lowering property taxes and sales taxes so residents have more incentive to stay and shop local? How about covering what has been accrued in pension liabilities and fixing the problem for the future?

    Instead: subsidize what the Renner faithful seem to want – government jobs with high pay/benefits costs but little accountability; non-essential services (BCPA, Coliseum); preferred status for their supporters (TIF districts, “development”).


  2. I wonder if the legal argument to defend failing to post notice 48 hours in advance will include the fact that someone from the City did not schedule the time and location for the Police Review Board agenda item in accordance with the announcement posted by BLM on their webpage. Someone from City Staff messed up, requiring revised/amended agendas for both the meeting in the Osborn Room and in the Council Chambers to be posted after the 48 hour requirement. This situation would not constitute an emergency, as allowed by OMA, unless one believes the BLM group, who would have to deal with rescheduling a meeting and a slight delay of a Council vote, would become very upset.


    1. Actually, I told them Friday the Osborne room was not big enough for the second meeting. They then changed the posting and location. It wouldn’t have been live streamed otherwise. The crowd wouldn’t have fit in the room either. It was changed 48 hours in advance.


      1. I understand and agree with why the meeting location needed to be moved. Please explain why the meetings would be illegal if the 48 hour requirement was met. I’m not an expert on OMA.


  3. A bit off subject. The Pantagraph reported that to fund the $30M Library project it would require a $18/year increase in property taxes for a $165,000 home over the length of 30 year bond issue.


      1. One Alderman asked why they don’t use the BCPA or Coliseum for activities. There wasn’t a clear answer.


  4. Remember pre-election public hearing about property taxes? The Library portion was only going to increase by 3 cents. Oppps!! Post-election the Library portion will increase $18.


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