By: Diane Benjamin
The citizens of Normal probably already knew “outsiders” aren’t allowed to participate in their government, how many Trustees have quit during their term so the Mayor could appoint a replacement? The last Mayor did the same thing so incumbents have an edge in the next election. I expect Chris Koos to do the same thing after the 2018 elections.
This is far worse.
Remember when the Normal Town Council Moved, Seconded, and voted on offering early retirements in 18 seconds? https://blnnews.com/2017/09/20/normal-meets-for-thirteen-minutes/
Why was there no discussion?
Because the financial state of Normal had already been discussed behind closed doors where citizens weren’t privy to just how bad things are. We still don’t know, it’s a secret so the Council can keep pretending everything is fine. Offering early retirements means it isn’t.
On August 11, 2017 the Council held a SECRET meeting – Executive Session. See the agenda here: http://www.normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/2690
The Bills for the August 30, 2017 meeting had a payment to Sumek and Associates for $5.345.82 labeled “Planning Session”. See PDF page 10: http://www.normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/2708
I did a Freedom of Information request for this planning session. This is what I received:
“Planning” isn’t a legal exemption for holding a secret meeting.
The Council met for 3 1/2 hours behind closed doors in violation of the Open Meetings Act. http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=84&ChapterID=2
It is the public policy of this State that public bodies exist to aid in the conduct of the people's business and that the people have a right to be informed as to the conduct of their business. In order that the people shall be informed, the General Assembly finds and declares that it is the intent of this Act to ensure that the actions of public bodies be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.
All elected officials are required to take the Open meetings Act training. New trustee Chemberly Cummings had taken the Open Meetings Act training on June 16, 2017. Did she attend this illegal meeting and not remember the training she just had? All of the Trustees and Mayor have taken the training. See this FOIA: OMA training certificates
We don’t know who attended this “Planning Session” because the minutes haven’t been released and probably never will be. The law says minutes of Executive Session minutes must be reviewed periodically to see which ones can be released. it doesn’t require ever releasing them. Obviously no one who attended this SECRET meting cared about the law.
It gets worse.
I filed a Request for Review with Lisa Madigan’s Public Access office:
This week they told me they never received it! Now it’s past 60 days since the Executive Session, so they refuse to investigate!
No justice for taxpayers!
Chris Koos and company are allowed to scheme against you in secret and prosecutors don’t care.
Just how bad are Normal’s finances? It’s a secret!
I’m going to try one more avenue for justice. If that doesn’t work the taxpayers of Normal will be further fleeced by their government. Law enforcement isn’t willing to stop them.