WHEELING, IL. (ECWd) –
The Illinois Attorney General has determined that the Village of Wheeling violated the Open Meetings Act during its September 5, 2017 public meeting.
According to the written determination, Wheeling violated the OMA by enforcing restrictions on public comment that were not part of the village’s public comment policy.
When a resident started speaking about allegations of two trustees improperly operating a home-based business, she was interrupted by the Village President Horcher, who informed her that comments must be made to the board as a whole and that she could not engage in personal attacks against individual members.
The Village responded to the Attorney General with lame excuses of how they believed their public comment policy was violated: 1) by asking questions of a specific trustee, 2) that she was disruptive by demanding an answer from a trustee, 3) by making repetitive comments, 4) that her comments were personal and slanderous, and 5) her tone and behavior was disruptive.
The AG determined the village’s rules were unreasonable, that after watching the video Wilson did not create a disturbance, rules prohibiting “personal attacks” are unreasonable, Wilson’s comments were not repetitious, and that Wilson’s comments did not disrupt or threaten to disrupt the meeting.
The AG’s letter states that Wheeling violated the Open Meetings Act by improperly restricting portions of Ms. Wilson’s public comments during its September 5, 2017 meeting.
Wheeling has violated her rights during public comment before, in November of 2016.