Bureau County

AG takes 13 Months to Determine Princeton Park District Violated Open Meetings Law –

Princeton, IL. (ECWd) –

The Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor has finally, after 13 months, made a determination that the Princeton Park District had violated the Open Meetings Act on May 18, 2015.

The Princeton Park District, like many other local governments, tried silencing a critic by telling him he did not have the right to ask questions of the Board of Commissioners during public comment time at its meetings.

One would think since the Open Meetings Act and the right to speak has been Illinois law for several years, local governments would quit playing games and quit trying to place restrictions on this right. Maybe they would start complying with the law if they could be personally fined for their violations.

During the meeting, Chairman Gene Englehart told a citizen that he could not ask questions of the board during public comment. However, in their response to the Attorney General, they claimed they were simply trying to re-direct him to a “more useful avenue of expression”, or in other words, once they got caught violating his rights, they started making excuses.

Public comment during open public meetings is a right, subject only to reasonable rules designed to accommodate and not restrict a speaker’s statutory right to address their public officials.

Additionally, the Princeton Park District had not established any rules, and even if they made a rule prohibiting questions, such a rule would have violated his statutory right to address the board.

5 replies »

  1. It’s time for the the (trustees and mayor) to start answering and taking actions to all questions. This is a problem at our village meetings. The trustees and mayor need to realize the citizens of Chatham Illinois are not going away. Simple solution put questions and answers on the agenda.

  2. I also think that administrators of a village, town or city should not be allowed to weasel out of providing answers to questions from the taxpayers. Questions are asked because an answer is sought, not for pure amusement. The leadership of these entities either have the answers or can supply them within a REASONABLE amount of time. Allowing them to slip off the hook of answering a taxpayer’s question allows them to hide not only unsavory personal actions but also the problems going on under dark of night.

  3. This article is simply another example of the Attorney General’s office showing that those in power come first and the public be damned. There’s no reason for such delays except maybe it’s a little work. Disgraceful.

  4. This ruling pleases me.. However as Dave stated in ‘his’ comment, I also agree that to take 13 mo. to issue an Opinion is inexcusable..
    I also filed a ‘Request For Review’ with the AG office, in the first part of 2015, against the Village Clerk in Chatham, Ill for ‘refusing’ to keep the minutes of the Committee Of The Whole meetings for several years.. Seems he felt he was not obligated to take Committee of The Whole minutes..
    One would think that a case as Obvious for violations of the O.M.A. as it was, could and would have been a fairly quick case to rule on. But instead I had to constantly contact them to get them to make a decision.. I think, -due to possible inside ‘connections’ with the Chatham Administration- they stalled and stalled. I believe they thought I would just lose interest and go away. They found out I was NOT going to give up and eventually made a very fuzzy ruling.. We are NOW getting the minutes taken at those meetings..
    My advise to those filing complaints? Stay with it and do NOT give up on it..

  5. It should be illegal for the democrat state AG to be the daughter of the democrat house speaker. It is inexcusable for the office of the Illinois AG to take 13 months to issue an opinion.

    With each passing year, primarily the Illinois democrats work to curtail our rights and freedoms. This is yet another example of it!

    Justice delayed is justice denied!

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