Open Meetings Act is a must read for elected leaders

September 30, 2013 

Has anyone on the Caseyville Township Board read the Illinois Open Meetings Act? How about the township attorney?

The act states that meeting agendas must include "the general subject matter of any resolutions or ordinance that will be the subject of final action at a meeting." And yet the township doesn't listed resolutions and ordinances on its agendas; Trustee James Lemansky seemed surprised to hear of that requirement.

Elected officials should make it their business to know the Open Meetings Act, and their attorney should backstop them. Did township attorney Tim Fleming inform the board of that requirement? If so, was his advice was ignored?

Fairview Heights resident Mark Blackburn said he tried to call this issue to the township's attention, to no avail. We can see why trustees would prefer that the public stay in the dark about township business. For instance, they wouldn't want to call attention to the fact that they are giving themselves a $6,000-a-year medical stipend on top of their $13,200 annual salary.

It's outrageous that a private citizen has to complain to the state attorney general to get the township's attention on the Open Meetings Act. Let's hope the next agenda complies with this basic, straightforward requirement.

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