December 7, 2011 · 1 Comments
Sit down people, clear your mouths; you’re NOT going to believe this!
What do you suppose the first act of the 911 Board was after voting in the new Board Chairman, Dee Burgin?
Next act of business, Break the law, of course!
Not a major milestone other than it was one of the most basic of laws outlined in the Open Meetings Act.
Oh, it gets better! Not only did the ETSB break the law, they had the assistance of their attorney, Craig Smith, the current Mayor of Paris, Illinois,
The Director of the ETS, Nanette Crippes, who is getting paid an extra $1,500.00 a year to be the FOIA and OMA officer sat silent during the violation of the Open Meetings Act!
After the vote tally for the Board Chairman the next course of business was to nominate and vote on a Vice chairman. Now before we spill all the beans, let’s look what the law has to say about votes taken during a public meeting.
(5 ILCS 120/2.06) (from Ch. 102, par. 42.06)
Sec. 2.06. Minutes; right to speak.
(a) All public bodies shall keep written minutes of all their meetings, whether open or closed, and a verbatim record of all their closed meetings in the form of an audio or video recording. Minutes shall include, but need not be limited to:(1) the date, time and place of the meeting;(2) the members of the public body recorded as either present or absent and whether the members were physically present or present by means of video or audio conference; and(3) a summary of discussion on all matters proposed, deliberated, or decided, and a record of any votes taken
Well the video is quite telling as what happen was a suggestion by Cindy Belt to have a ballot, then, the new Board Chairman, Dee Burgin asks Jeff Poynter if they can have a ballot and with confidence Poynter assures him “oh, yeah right, you can have a ballot”. Everyone keep in mind that bit of advice came from a sitting County Board Member!
Ironically, the OMA officer, Nanette Crippes, the very person person getting paid extra to know these things sat silent while the ETS attorney, Craig Smith, a licensed lawyer in the state of Illinois and Paris Mayor is asked to assist in counting the ballots and even announces the vote totals for the board.
Now if their own attorney doesn’t know the law, the County Board member doesn’t know the law, and the very person getting paid nicely to know, doesn’t know, what the hell is happening in our local government?
The law requires a record of the vote. Who voted for whom? A simple review of the Public Access Counselors annual review actually lists the issue of secret ballots in their most frequently asked questions.
Can you do it?
NO! Public bodies cannot take action by secret ballot!
There can be no secret ballots at public meetings. WSDR, Inc. v. Ogle County, 100 Ill. App. 3d 1008 (Second Dist.1981); 1975 Ill. Att’y Gen. Op. 136.
What’s the big deal, right? The big deal is the fact that this is a super simple thing to understand in the law and not even their high priced attorney, Craig Smith, the Paris Mayor knew. What are we paying these people for if they can’t even get the most basic principal of running a public meeting?
People of Edgar County, I sure hope you know what you’re doing when you vote in the next election! Your future may depend on it!
By Kirk Allen