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April 25, 2024

DuPage State's Atty will not prosecute COD Open Meetings violation –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On September 11, 2015

DuPage Co., IL. (ECWd) –
The DuPage County State’s Attorney, Bob Berlin, has stated that his office will not prosecute the College of DuPage Open Meetings Act violation from four years ago in which the Illinois Attorney General determined a violation occurred, and made that determination four years after the actual meeting in question.
He stated that after reviewing numerous OMA cases and binding opinions, he cannot find one where an item was overturned because of a technical violation, and in his opinion this is a technical violation. Should the AG have made a more timely determination, or had he been made aware of this within a few months of occurrence, he says the situation might be different. That due to the passage of time, and two elections it is not feasible to prosecute.
Additionally, he stated the Edgar County Watchdogs’ testimony to an Illinois House Committee on a recent Bill to amend the Open Meetings Act, supports the findings in the court cases reviewed.
We will review this letter, our testimony in Springfield, and AG Opinions to provide our in-depth assessment of this letter in a later article in order to provide the State’s Attorney’s opinion in an expeditious manner.
This only applies to the July 2011 College of DuPage meeting and only applies to the prosecutorial discretion to not pursue this action.
State’s Attorney Berlin’s letter to COD Chairman Hamilton:
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  • Dave
    Posted at 18:10h, 11 September

    “The government is the potent omnipresent teacher. For good or ill it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that the end justifies the means to declare that the government may commit crimes would bring terrible retribution.” ~ Justice Louis D. Brandeis, (1856-1941) US Supreme Court Justice, Olmstead v. United States, 277 US 438, 1928

  • Bob Hazard
    Posted at 12:13h, 12 September

    I’m sure Berlin’s decision to not pursue this case has nothing to do with the fact that one of his staff members, Mike O’Donnell, is the husband of former COD board member Allison O’Donnell. O’Donnell voted for Breuder’s retirement package as well as at least one of his contract extensions.

  • Mikos
    Posted at 19:25h, 12 September

    This is similar to what happened with the Orland Park Public Library. If you recall, in 2014 on three separate occasions the Public Access Bureau made determinations that the Orland Park Library broke the law by violating the Open Meetings Act. One time, they held an illegal secret meeting on a state holiday and refused to let the public speak. Another time, the board president censored the public and said they could not talk about certain topics. A third time, they held a vote without properly deliberating on what they were voting on. All three times the PAB determined they broke the law. The Orland Police refused to open a case against the Board, even though it is a Class-C misdemeanor to break the OMA. The state’s attorney said there are too many murders unsolved in Cook County to care about a library board breaking the law and if the police refused to open an investigation then there was nothing the state’s attorney could do.