Attorney general determines Wheeling council broke the law
After an incident of civil non-compliance, attorneys for the Village of Wheeling recently received communication from the office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan decrying its Village Council’s violations of the state’s Open Meetings Act.
Specifically, resident Deborah Wilson filed a complaint in late November 2016 alleging that she was not allowed to address the board because she had not signed in to a meeting. Wilson argued that no sign-in clipboard was visible on site.
According to the Edgar County Watchdogs group, the municipality “failed to follow its own written policy on public comment.” Watchdogs representatives noted that Wheeling policy does not, in fact, require prior signup and stated that officials attempted to enforce “arbitrary rules.”
To confirm that any previously recorded policy takes precedence over miscellaneous or random rules, Illinois Attorney General public access counselor Neil Olson dispatched a letter on April 6 to Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins, Ltd. in Chicago. In that document, he informed officials that they were in violation of Section 2.06(g) of the Open Meetings Act.
Moreover, the failure resulted from the Village Council members’ heeding the advice of both their own attorney and the village manager, according to the Watchdogs.
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