ONARGA, IL. (ECWd) –
Last night, the Onarga Community Library District held its regular monthly meeting in violation of the Open Meetings Act.
The Open Meetings Act specifically requires public bodies to post meeting notices and agendas at least 48 hours prior to a meeting. Those notices and agendas must be continuously available for the public to read for the 48 hours prior to the meeting.
Posting them inside a locked building, where people cannot access them to read them when the library is closed, violates the Open meetings Act. We have photos of the entry doors, and no notice or agenda was posted in a place where it could be read when the library was closed.
Open Meetings Act: (5 ILCS 120/2.02)
(from Ch. 102, par. 42.02)
Sec. 2.02. Public notice of all meetings, whether open or closed to the public,
shall be given as follows:
(a) Every public body shall give public notice of the schedule of regular meetings
at the beginning of each calendar or fiscal year and shall state the regular
dates, times, and places of such meetings. An agenda for each regular
meeting shall be posted at the principal office of the public body and at the
location where the meeting is to be held at least 48 hours in advance of the
holding of the meeting.
(c) Any agenda required under this Section shall set forth the general subject matter of any resolution or ordinance that will be the subject of final action at the meeting.
The public body conducting a public meeting shall ensure that at least one copy of any requested notice and agenda for the meeting is continuously available for public review during the entire 48-hour period preceding the meeting. Posting of the notice and agenda on a website that is maintained by the public body satisfies the requirement for continuous posting under this subsection (c). If a notice or agenda is not continuously available for the full 48-hour period due to actions outside of the control of the public body, then that lack of availability does not invalidate any meeting or action taken at a meeting.
(Source: P.A. 97-827, eff. 1-1-13.)
I also informed them that violations of the Open Meetings Act were Class C Misdemeanors (crimes):
(5 ILCS 120/4) (from Ch. 102, par. 44)
Sec. 4. Any person violating any of the provisions of this Act, except subsection (b), (c), (d), (e), or (f) of Section 1.05, shall be guilty of a Class C misdemeanor.
On Monday, May 13, 2019, I notified the library and its attorney of the issue, sent them copies of the applicable statute reference, and asked them to cancel this meeting because it would violate the Act.
Library Attorney George P. Cuonzo replied stating “The Agenda was posted on Sat. afternoon which is actually 72 hours ahead of the meeting.”
Notice Cuonzo said the agenda “was posted” – not that is was posted where people could actually read it.
Knowing he did not address the original question of having the agenda available for the public to actually read, I replied asking if the Agenda was posted on the door or anywhere the public could read it when the library was closed.
No response was provided.
They thumbed their noses at the law and held an illegal meeting anyway.