Poplar Grove, IL. (ECWd) –
After our email and article to the village explaining to them that the village of Poplar Grove Electoral Board’s special meetings scheduled to be held on Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday would violate the Open Meetings Act, the meetings were rescheduled.
After the rescheduling village attorney Roxanne Sosnowski wrote a letter which was read at the following village board meeting, and in part says:
“To be clear, there was no violation of the Open Meetings Act – as the Board is aware with the recent discussion on Juneteenth – the Village of Poplar Grove is allowed under Illinois law to establish it’s own holiday schedule which it has done via ordinance and Martin Luther King Day is not a holiday in the Village.”
The very first part is correct, the “was” no violation of the Open Meetings Act, but only because they canceled and rescheduled the meetings. If they would have continued to hold those meetings, they would have violated the Open Meetings Act – it does not matter what the village ordinance says about this holiday – it is a legal holiday.
The rest of her statement is hogwash.
According to the Open Meetings Act, Section 2.01, meetings cannot be held on a legal holiday (state or federal) unless the regularly scheduled meeting lands on that holiday. Each public body is required, under Section 2.02, to annually publish its schedule of regular meetings. Any meeting not on the published annual meeting schedule is a special meeting or an emergency meeting and cannot be held on a legal holiday.
The Attorney General has repeatedly stated that the Promissory Note and Bank Holiday Act are controlling when determining holidays according to the Open Meetings Act, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day is listed as a legal holiday, and no public body can change that fact, not even the village of Poplar Grove.
The bottom line here is that the village of Poplar Grove does not possess the powers to declare that established national holidays are not holidays within the Village (for OMA purposes).