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June 15, 2014

Let the sunshine in on St. Clair County settlements

St. Clair County leaders really need to read Illinois' Freedom of Information Act. It's inexcusable that they have kept hidden from the public more than $3.3 million worth of out-of-court settlements.

Madison County understands the need to keep the public informed. When county leaders there settle a case, they tell the public the amount and the type of claim. In St. Clair County, the public isn't even told a case is being settled much less a dollar amount.

As usual, County Board Chairman Mark Kern was not available for comment. County Administrator Dan Maher's explanation is that the county has been doing business this way for more than 30 years and three state's attorneys.

The length of time they've done it wrong doesn't make it right. Is the county is going to disclose settlements in the future as the law requires?

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