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February 21, 2024

COD – $762,867.77 Open Meetings Act Violation

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On January 23, 2015

DuPage Co. (ECWd)

In yet another clear act of defiance against the will of the public, Erin Birt walked down the path laid before her by the board attorney, and once again violated the Open Meetings Act.

This time with a deliberate, in your face attitude, as it was clear she wanted to provide the disgraced COD President with one of the largest golden parachute payoffs in the history of Illinois, totaling $762,867.77.  Even after another trustee asked if they should read the soon to be voted on contract addenda into the record, Chairman Birt refused.

Congratulations to Erin Birt for once again bringing embarrassment to the College of DuPage for her inability to even follow the most basic law she is bound to, which by the way is a criminal offense!

But please don’t take our word for it! 

Right from the Open Meetings Act!

Section 1 – (5 ILCS 120/1) (from Ch. 102, par. 41)
Sec. 1. Policy. It is the public policy of this State that public bodies exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business and that the people have a right to be informed as to the conduct of their business. In order that the people shall be informed, the General Assembly finds and declares that it is the intent of this Act to ensure that the actions of public bodies be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.

Chairman Birt admits during the meeting they have been working on the President’s Contract Addenda for 9 months. however. that work was not conducted openly during any public meeting in the last 9 months.  Nine months of secret deliberations violates the very policy of the OMA!

Section 2(e) Final Action.  No final action may be taken at a closed meeting. Final action shall be preceded by a public recital of the nature of the matter being considered and other information that will inform the public of the business being conducted.

Erin Birt did not at any time provided a recital of the nature of the matter being considered nor provide other information that would inform the public of the business being conducted.

District 186 had a very similar matter that also involved a lump sum pay off to the Superintendent, and they even provided a copy of the contract being voted on, and the Attorney General ruled they violated the OMA! (Click here for the law firms overview of the AG opinion)

“The board presented evidence that the separation agreement was identified by the board prior to the vote and that the item was included on the board’s agenda.  However, the board did not publicly discuss the specific terms of the agreement (including a substantial lump sum payment to the Superintendent) at the meeting.  However, the school board had provided a copy of the agreement on its website along with the agenda of the meeting and so the board took the position that this combination of published agenda and public recital were sufficient to inform the public of the matter being considered.”

The PAC rejected this argument concluding that any OMA requirements related to publication of an agenda before a meeting (under Section 2.02) had nothing to do the Section 2(e) provisions governing public recital during the meeting.  The PAC concluded that the Section 2(e) requirement must mean that the public body is required to give an oral explanation of “the significance of its action” to any of the public who attend the meeting before it takes action.  The PAC reasoned that the OMA’s Section 2.02 agenda publication requirements must give the public enough information to decide if they want to attend a meeting while the section 2(e) public recital requirements are different and are intended to ensure that the public body provides enough information to inform those who do attend the meeting of what business is being conducted.  According to the PAC “the public must be informed of the key terms of a proposed public contract or agreement.”

Erin Birt’s effort to shove a $762,867.77 obligation down the throats of COD residents was done without any public recital as mandated by law.  This action must be overturned in the courts.

Once that is completed the matter should be turned over to the State’s Attorney for criminal prosecution of the board members that supported this illegal act! 


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1 Comment
  • Chris M. Gaines
    Posted at 04:10h, 24 January

    Good job once again John and Kirk through your relentless reporting efforts by exposing this valuable information through your non profit organization called ! Keep pushing this story relentlessly till it’s resolved, please! Public exposure is vital as you well know already, in putting enough pressure on this community in general, its members in leadership positions as public servants, our politicians and ultimately this (COD) board to take the obvious appropriate actions eventually or face a civil lawsuit(s) for their illegal activity.

    Obviously it’s going to be very difficult to get a State’s Attorney in this county (or any county as we know who are well informed ) to file any criminal charges against anyone concerning this matter because of the obvious corruption in most States Attorney Offices in Illinois (nationwide obviously as we know who are well informed ) and also because of the lack of law enforcement action against the “Good Ole’ Boy Club” in most communities nationwide, and law enforcement inaction we have seen in Illinois, especially in my county of Coles recently obviously (example former Coles County Sheriff Darrel Cox’ obvious official misconduct as you well know John, and our former Coles County felony public defender Lonnie Lutz being disbarred recently for sexually assaulting his clients he was assigned as their felony public defender. Our State’s Attorney currently, Brian Bower is obviously part of the problem by not willing to file any charges against either one of these former public servants of ours in Coles County Illinois ). Illinois is the most corrupt State in our union still. Why? Apathy. Uninformed voters. Fear. Ignorance is bliss. No one really cares enough to get informed or involved or don’t want to risk anything by getting involved..they prefer to be distracted by selfish activities, not be involved in their civic duties as good citizens in our Republic in OUR United States of America. We the

    MORE people in our communities must be willing to TAKE ACTION and get involved in taking mitigated risks and even life threatening risks if required of them, to get the job done if no one else will to defend other people and their FREEDOM AND LIBERTY and security. Stand up for those that can’t or won’t for whatever reasons. Don’t fear retaliation. Strength is the numbers, and in unifying WE THE PEOPLE not creating SEPARATION of them as these secret societies do in our community and throughout OUR world.

    You should if you already haven’t report this activity to the FBI field office in Chicago that handles this area and has an ability to investigate public corruption effectively. The Illinois State Police or local law enforcement obviously will not investigate these allegations because of obvious reasons of public corruption within their organizations as well. Their are honest and motivated FBI agents willing to get involved if their is enough public exposure and an outcry by enough people in public I assure you of that fact. All it takes is one motivaed Special Agent in Charge of the FBI to make the decision to start a probe into these allegations. I hope you pursue this John.

    Public trust erosion will eventually collapse our government agencies and that’s what they want to usher in a one world government and world domination and TYRANNY and FASCISM. Secret societies are behind this all obviously. They must be exposed too obviously to effectively bring about change to the status quo of business as usual in OUR State of Illinois and throughout OUR world.

    Go !