Normal is guilty and not guilty

By:  Diane Benjamin

I filed a Request for Review with Lisa Madigans’s Public Access office on January 18, 2018.  The request was for a ruling on the budget workshop held by the Town of Normal that was not posted as a meeting with an agenda, time, and place.  I received a ruling yesterday.

5 ILCS 120/3.5 (e) requires the Attorney General’s office to issue an opinion within 60 days, but once again laws are immaterial.  When government is not held accountable rapidly for violations of the law, all laws become immaterial.

Findings:

The Town of Normal tried to claim it wasn’t a meeting.  They were wrong.  I recently filed another similar case against the County for holding an un-posted meeting with legislators.  They will lose too.  Anytime a majority of a quorum is present it’s a meeting!

This meeting was not posted on the Town website where all other meetings are posted.  The Town claims they posted it on the front page of the website under “events”.  I never saw it and I know other people who never saw it who would have attended if they had known about it.  The Attorney General ruled posting under “events” complied with the Open Meetings Act however.

I also asked for a ruling on the many “straw votes” taken during this session.  The Attorney General used an Illinois Supreme Court ruling on straw votes in an Executive Session to uphold the Town’s straw votes at this budget session.  I strongly disagree with that interpretation since Executive Sessions need some consensus of members before an issue, like hiring a City Manager, is raised in public.  The items approved by Normal’s straw votes became part of the budget without any public discussion.  The only way the public knew about these cuts was from media that did attend.  Some may have been mentioned at a meeting, but they weren’t agenda items that notified the public.

Finally, since the Attorney General ruled this budget session was a meeting, minutes are required.  The Town was told to create minutes in order to comply with the Open Meetings Act.

Of course, violating law carries no penalties when government does it.

See the entire ruling here:  PAC 51301

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5 thoughts on “Normal is guilty and not guilty

  1. C’mon Diane, it’s hard to scheme and plot if the conspirators can’t meet outside the public eye. If Koos & Co. have such a wonderful “vision” for the future of Normal and want to work with key “stakeholders”, as they claim, why are they trying to hide their meetings? Hmm.. Koos is trying to keep up the appearance that centralized government planning works. He’s trying to have his cake and eat it too. He doesn’t want to be seen as cutting government, can’t let on that Uptown is bleeding money and tenants, and doesn’t want to be called out for raising taxes/fees. Lyle must be some magician to pull that off.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lisa Madigan is not an asset to the citizens of Illinois. My experience with the AG’s office
    was distasteful. All politics, some law, and no sense of justice.She is part of the old boys network. Yes she has helped senior citizens who were bilked when having their driveway
    resurfaced. Has she done anything about the rampant corruption in Illinois ? No. There is the possibility that she has been influenced a time or two by her father. I would like to believe that she will be replaced by someone better than she, but this is Illinois, and I may be being overly optimistic.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I can’t wait for Lisa Madigan to get out of the Illinois Attorney General office early next year. I sure won’t vote for Raoul. I don’t know about Harrold. I just don’t have the confidence to vote for her.

        Like

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