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July 20, 2024

Piatt County – Special Meetings truly special

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On March 8, 2020

Piatt Co. (ECWd) –

The Piatt County Board held 6 Special Meetings in 2019. This is the same county where the currently indicted County Chairman has filed claims for attendance at 30 meetings a month, and he and other board members are being paid in violation of state law. We covered those issues in the last two articles found here and here.

The law that covers Special County Board meetings has been ignored by this group.

(55 ILCS 5/2-1002)  Sec. 2-1002. Special meetings. Special meetings of the board shall be held only when requested by at least one-third of the members of the board, or when requested by the chairman of the board in counties where such chairman is elected by the voters of the county, which request shall be in writing, addressed to the clerk of the board, and specifying the time and place of such meeting, upon reception of which the clerk shall immediately transmit notice, in writing, of such meeting, to each of the members of the board. The clerk shall also cause notice of such meeting to be published in some newspaper printed in the county if any there be. In case a vacancy arises in the office of clerk, because of death or other reason, then the request shall be addressed to the circuit clerk who shall perform the duties of the clerk pursuant to this Section. (Source: P.A. 86-962.)

Considering this law is only a whopping three sentences, you would think the crystal clear requirements would not be difficult to comprehend. Think again.

I requested the published notices for all Special Meetings in 2019 and I recieved one.  However, the one recieved relates to a Truth in Taxation hearing notice, which has its own publishing obligations separate and distinct from those required under the County Code.

As it stands, the County failed to comply with the required notice to the public for their six Special County Board meetings, which may bring the question as to the validity of any action taken during those meetings.  While the Open Meetings Act has certain obligations for meeting notice that may have been complied with, they can’t ignore the specific obligations to inform the public of their special meetings outlined by the County Code.

What items were acted on that could face an action to have them voided for failure to properly notice their meetings?

  • November 26th – 11 am – Annual Budget and Appropriations
  • November 26th – 1 pm – A whopping 9.60% Property Tax increase for Corporate and Special purpose property, 13.91% Property Tax increase for Debt Services
  • November 13th – Truth In Taxation Hearing
  • October 22nd – Tentative Budget – Web site shows that minutes are posted but the link does not reflect minutes but rather only an agenda.
  • August 6th –  A meeting called for an Executive Session dealing with personnel.
  • June 18th – ETSB related employment matters and Fire Protection District Trustee appointment.

We requested other key docments that the County must have in relation to Special Meetings and will update after reciept of their response.

In the meantime, we encourage all County Board officials to read the County Code they are bound by and start following it.

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  • jannie
    Posted at 16:04h, 08 March Reply

    I think the majority of these people aren’t trying to pull the wool over anyone (though there may be some). Many are just too lazy to read the rules

    Though sometimes the Board is just stubborn –We had one county board member (in our county) was nikpicky about the minutes – and what do you know the board ignored – approved the inaccurate account (I happen to attend both mtgs, so know the “facts”) The minutes reported wrong.. But the board approved the inaccurate minutes. Who knows what drives some of these county boards.

  • Mike
    Posted at 20:14h, 08 March Reply

    All state laws that require newspaper postings should be modernized to include posting the document on the unit of government’s website, accompanied with an email and text of the document to all those that opt in.

  • Roger
    Posted at 14:07h, 09 March Reply

    It’s nice that these quicky meetings are held when working taxpayers can attend… oh, wait, 11 am on a Tuesday, 1 pm on the same Tuesday, 8:30 am on a Wednesday, 9 am on a Tuesday, 1:30 pm on a Tuesday and 11 am on a Tuesday.

    I’m assuming Tuesday must be the day the golf course is busy or closed and no tee times available.

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