ROBBINS, IL. (ECWd) –
The Illinois Attorney General Public Access Counselor has issued a determination letter stating that the Village of Robbins has violated the Open Meetings Act by not reviewing closed session recordings and minutes and have not made any determination on whether to keep those records sealed or to make them public, and because the board improperly discussed items in closed session which should have been discussed in full view of the public.
The AG asked the board to release the closed session recording of the October 26, 2021, closed session where improper discussions were held.
From the Determination:
- This office’s review of the closed session verbatim recording also confirmed, however, that the Board extensively discussed issues involving the developer and properties he sought to develop. The Board’s closed session discussion clearly fell outside the scope of the exceptions on which the Board relied to enter closed session: subsections 2(c)(5) and 2(c)(6).12 Those exceptions permit closed session discussion of:
- (5) The purchase or lease of real property for the use of the public body, including meetings held for the purpose of discussing whether a particular parcel should be acquired.
- (6) The setting of a price for sale or lease of property owned by the public body.
- While the closed session discussion did relate to the sale of Village-owned property, it was not about the restrictive authorized topic of setting a price for the sale. Further, there is no other exception in section 2(c) of OMA that authorizes the closed session discussion the Board held. Because the closed session discussion was plainly improper, this office asks the Board to take appropriate remedial action by voting to release the October 26, 2021, closed session verbatim recording to the public at its next regular meeting.
- Ms. DaValle implicitly acknowledged that the Board failed to conduct an appropriate review of its closed session minutes. Labeling this misstep a “technical violation,” Ms. DaValle stated that “the Village of Robbins plans to review prior closed session minutes to determine whether the need for confidentiality still exists within the next sixty (60) days.”
- If the Board has not since conducted a review of all its past closed session minutes and reported in closed session about the extent to which it needs to continue to keep those minutes confidential, this office reminds the Board to do so promptly.