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April 12, 2024

Don’t Question Carlinville’s Elected Officials – They Have Rules Against It!

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On March 6, 2018


Of course their rules are wrong, however, Carlinville is continuing with their amazing efforts to shut down any and all questions related to their actions as public officials and the public body of the city. They have a documented past of failing to provide public records (and lying about it), failing to answer the Attorney General’s questions about public records, failing to comply with the Open Meetings Act (“OMA”), and now, threats to unlawfully infringe on the right to speak during the public comment portion of Open Meetings.

So their new attorney decided to read the city’s “policy” on public comment during public meetings – we suggest they adopt a new policy that complies with the Open Meetings Act because this one is so far off base, it’s not even in the same ballpark.

Before you watch this portion of the video, here is what I heard him say: “Please come to our next public meeting

Here is what the attorney actually said:

  • you have to provide your name and address
  • you cannot question or address a city council member by name or individually
  • you may only address the council as a whole (corporate authorities)
  • you can be removed from the meeting for violating their local rules (no matter how wrong the rules are)

Here is what the Open Meetings Act says:

  • Sec. 2.06. Minutes; right to speak.(g) Any person shall be permitted an opportunity to address public officials under the rules established and recorded by the public body.

Please note, and consistent with the attorney’s later reading of an interpretation of FOIA, that there is a difference between a “public body” and a “public official.” Additionally, the OMA does not restrict questions and comments to only the public body, but instead grants the right to address “public officials.” The right to address each member individually, or address them as a group are both expressly granted under the OMA and that right cannot be diminished by local rules.

Local rules must be reasonable and must enhance the ability to speak, not restrict the ability to speak. Additionally, a public body cannot require a speaker provide his or her address as a condition of exercising their right to speak.

It appears Carlinville is trying to get out of the embarrassment of not answering anything that deals with the new private water company they started, and have taken steps to ensure that all you unruly citizens never question any of their actions and never ask for any public records.

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  • Rich Vought
    Posted at 12:32h, 06 March

    But don’t they get to make rules governing the public comments. Isn’t that in the text that you quoted from the OMA?

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 12:35h, 06 March

      Yes, but any rules have to be reasonable and enhance the public’s ability to address public officials, not further restrict their ability.

  • Christine Trzos
    Posted at 13:01h, 06 March

    And when do you think Carlinville will secede from Illinois and U.S. to allow the Demuzio machine to rule the serfs? This is what happens when ‘good’ men do NOTHING and allow tyranny to prevail….

  • Dennis Finegan
    Posted at 02:18h, 07 March

    What about the rule requiring name and address? Is that within the OMA? Lisle CUSD requires you to sign up on a blue card (as you find out well into your first meeting) prior to the meeting if you want to make a comment. Other venues have sign-up sheets. Are these OK?

    The rules here though are certainly wrong. Someone mentioned at one meeting he could stand up there for his allotted time and literally recite the phone book if he wanted and there was nothing they could do (but burn).

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 07:48h, 07 March

      They cannot require address, I think you might have to sign in just prior to the meeting to facilitate a smooth meeting if the rules require it, but I don’t think you have to give your name either. Subject of the speech does not have to be an agenda item.