By: Diane Benjamin
If Illinois had a competent Attorney General a ruling against Normal for their public comment policy would have been written many months ago. (the law requires them to rule within 90 days) We don’t, so Normal continues to stifle citizen speech only because they can. A complaint was filed with the AG early this year because the Town thinks they can limit speech to what’s on the agenda. Normal knows their policy violates the Open Meetings Act: https://blnnews.com/2019/09/05/normals-illegal-public-comment-policy-2/
The Town of Normal elitists won’t comply with the law until they are forced to. Anyone who wants to address THEIR government should sign up for public comment and start talking about anything they want. Let Chris Koos be on video shutting you down. He looks stupid for not sparing 3 minutes of his “valuable” time and the Council members who refuse to change the policy until forced look just as stupid: Chemberly Cummings, Kevin McCarthy, Kathleen Lorenz, and Scott Preston.
Besides not allowing public comment on non-agenda items, Normal has another problem. Koos and company think they can require citizens to sign up 15 minutes before a meeting. That also violates the Open Meetings Act: https://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/2019/10/ag-pecatonica-township-violated-the-open-meetings-act-right-to-speak/
I predict some day the Attorney General will get around to telling Normal restricting Public Comment to items on the agenda is illegal.
Normal will be forced to yet again change their comment policy, but they will not change signing up 15 minutes in advance until they are forced to. The majority of the Council is too arrogant to admit they work for the people. Pretending they rule and can control the people is much more fun. Koos, Cummings, McCarthy, Lorenz, and Preston can walk into a meeting 1 minute before it starts, but citizens need to show up more than 15 minutes early to sign up. That is ruling, not government “For and By The People”!
If laws don’t matter to your government why do the people have to comply?
See the Town’s illegal policy here: https://normal.org/854/Addressing-the-Council
Koos needs to be forced to do this one: