WHEELING, IL. (ECWd) –
The Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor has issued a determination stating that the Wheeling City Council violated the Open Meetings Act on November 21, 2016 when it failed to follow its own written policy on public comment, which resulted in preventing a speaker from addressing the city council.
The core issue was the city’s written and established public comment policy by requiring someone wishing to comment to sign-up on the clipboard that was neither visible nor presented for sign-up.
Wheeling city policy did not require prior sign-up, but the city thought is could place arbitrary rules in place at the meeting in spite of their written and established policy.
The AG determined that any written and established policy trumps any arbitrary policy not formally adopted and that does not rescind previous policy.
The city violated Section 2.06(g) of the Open Meetings Act by their conduct – which consisted of listening to their attorney and the village manager (neither of which hold any type of authority during a public meeting), who were wrong (again).