Public Watchdog.org

Want To Learn About The Illinois Open Meetings Act?

02.15.08

Grass-roots opposition to the Culture of Secrecy is developing in Park Ridge, at least in connection with the Park Ridge City Council.  This week alone there were articles in both local newspapers addressing the issue and noting the citizens who spoke in favor of open government (and in support of 1st Ward Ald. Dave Schmidt’s efforts to get it for us) at Monday night’s meeting, along with a letter to the editor in yesterday’s Herald-Advocate taking a similar position.

We hope the demand for open and transparent city government continues to gain traction throughout our community, no matter how much Mayor Howard “We’re only going into closed session when we need to and have a legal right to” Frimark and 2nd Ward Ald. Rich “It is my belief that for the protection of our city and our residents the integrity of the closed session should remain intact” DiPietro wish to hide city business from their constituents.  We also hope that demand spreads to our other branches of local government as well.

As local resident Bruce Gilpin succinctly put it Monday night: “Democracy and secrecy are incompatible.”  Except for the narrowest carve-outs for legitimate national security issues and certain other hyper-sensitive matters, we strongly agree.

So if you want to get a better handle on secrecy in local government, take a look at the website our Illinois Attorney General maintains concerning the Illinois Open Meetings Act (“IOMA”).  We think you will find it as enlightening as we did.  And we encourage you to let us know if you find anything on that site, or anywhere else in the Illinois statutes or case law, that REQUIRES closed sessions for ANY public business – because we sure haven’t found it.

So anytime Mayor Frimark says “when we need to” when talking about closed session discussions, feel free to substitute “when we want to.”

2 comments so far

I hate the “it’s legal” explanation.

Hoover, I agree. But we know that is the reason given for doing things when people are too lazy or too dishonest to make a case for what they are doing.



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