SWANSEA - Attorney General Lisa Madigan is out to make sure city councils and government panels are not hiding behind closed doors when they should be discussing matters before the public. Two city councils - one in southern Illinois and another in Chicago's western suburbs have had their hands slapped concerning Open Meetings Act violations.
Elected officials in the little town of Swasea discussed not only which city employees may be laid off in combination with how those layoffs would be handled in order to meet budget demands. That's not acceptable, the AG's office said. Any discussion of the city budget should be open to the public, and may be behind closed doors only if personnel employment performance is mentioned.
The AG's office also said the city of Naperville's electoral board ignored the Open Meetings Act during discussions on a Smart Grid ballot referendum in three ways: 1. Did not openly deliberate its final decision during its Jan. 12 meeting, 2. Did not allow public comment at that meeting and 3. Did not include agenda items on its public meeting notices.
Violating the Open Meetings Act can rack up fines up to $1000 per offense, as well as jail time.