By: Diane Benjamin
Since the Illinois Attorney General can’t get his website functional, elected officials need a course in what is legal and what isn’t to discuss in private Executive Sessions.
See AG’s website message here, evidently 6 months isn’t enough time to fix what his office failed to protect: https://illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/downformaintenancepacmessage.html
The only elected official I know of who has walked out of an Executive Session is Judy Stearns. When the meeting is ILLEGAL, all officials have the duty to walk out. See the details in this story, it includes links to other stories about that illegal meeting: https://blnnews.com/2015/04/23/judy-stearns-deserves-a-ruling/
Since the Attorney General’s office can’t train elected officials on what is legal and what isn’t in Executive Session, I will use the presentation created by the Edgar County Watchdogs. Their training is right out of the law. I’ve posted it before, it also includes information for filing Freedom of Information Requests (FOIA).
PDF Pages 14-15 has all the LEGAL reasons to meet in secret. If discussions vary from that list, anyone present has the DUTY to walk out and report the illegal meeting. Start with the media and then the State’s Attorney. The Attorney General isn’t going to respond in a timely manner as required by law. Even though Jason Chambers pawned off action when he was the State’s Attorney, he at least got the AG to act a little faster on Tari Renner holding the illegal Metro-zone Executive Session .
Violations continue to happen. The only protection citizens have is the people in meetings. If they don’t review the law and hold Mayors and lawyers accountable, nobody else will.
Information for citizens about how to file a FOIA request is also included. It isn’t difficult, more citizens should file them.