Shelby Co. (ECWd) –
The Shelby County Board will be holding their July meeting on 7/14/22 at 7 pm. While the agenda has numerous issues of concern from a legality standpoint, one important line item is the discussion with the forensic auditor who exposed over $750,000.00 in errors in the Sheriff’s office payroll.
While we are pleased to see they are going to have a discussion on the matter, it appears they have forgotten those errors only represented one office in the county. When the original discussion on having the audit took place it was argued that they would focus on the Sheriff’s office first and see after that if it was necessary to forensically audit the rest of the county.
The public needs answers to questions, and while we hope members of the board ask many of those tough questions, the public should know they have a right to ask questions as outlined by law.
(55 ILCS 5/2-1001) (from Ch. 34, par. 2-1001)
Sec. 2-1001. Regular meetings. Regular and special meetings of the county board may be held in any public building located within the county that such county board is elected to serve. Prior notice of the building selected for the meeting shall be provided by the board chairman to each member of the county board in the manner provided pursuant to the rules of the county board. Regular meetings of the board shall be held in June and September, and at such other times as may be determined by the board.
At each regular and special meeting which is open to the public, members of the public and employees of the county shall be afforded time, subject to reasonable constraints, to comment to or ask questions of the board.
(Source: P.A. 86-962; 86-1028.)
The public and the board should understand the Counties Code is in addition to the Open Meetings Act. The legislative intent behind the Counties Code is for members of the public and employees of the county to get answers to their questions.
While Shelby County and many other counties lean toward hiding behind the Open Meetings Act with the claim they don’t answer questions, they would be wise to not try to hide from the Counties Code.
The public not only has a right to know, the intent of the Open Meetings Act, but the board also needs to answer the questions asked by employees and the public as the Counties Code’s legislative intent was for the people to get answers to their questions. This same language is also found in the school code, the community college act, as well as university acts.
The College of DuPage properly applied the law when they would record people’s questions and actually respond to them at a later time if the questions could not be answered at the meeting.
The public should come prepared with their questions and demand answers to their questions. We suggest a copy of your specific questions be provided to the Clerk and that the board address the process they will follow to get the people their responses.
The unknown on this matter is if the majority of the board will actually make an effort to follow the law and answer the people’s questions.
A copy of the agenda can be downloaded at this link or viewed below.Board Agenda 7-12-2022