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home : city news : city news July 26, 2017

7/14/2017 4:11:00 PM
City Must Respond to AG By Monday About Possible OMA Violation
By Mary Helt Gavin

At the request of Allison Mcguire, the Illinois Attorney General’s office is looking into whether the June 30 City Council meeting was held in violation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act (OMA). The agenda for that meeting was for the Council to consider an ordinance to temporarily opt out of the Cook County Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Ordinance. The County’s ordinance was adopted last fall.

On the evening of June 28, the RoundTable received an email message from City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz that Mayor Steve Hagerty had called a special City Council meeting for 10 a.m. on June 30. After receiving the message, the RoundTable checked the City’s website and found no notice of the meeting had been posted on the website and then emailed the City Manager and questioned whether the required notice – 48 hours – was given. The meeting was subsequently declared an “emergency” meeting.

The OMA allows emergency meetings to be held without the normally requisite notice, but it does not specify what constitutes an emergency. In calling the emergency meeting, Mayor Hagerty cited the actions taken or likely to be taken by neighboring municipalities to opt out of the ordinance.

On July 13, Ms. Mcguire posted a comment on the RoundTable’s website saying that she had contacted the Attorney General’s office and requested a review “directly after the ‘emergency meeting.’”

Neil P. Olson, Deputy Public Access Counselor in the office of Attorney General Lisa Madigan, sent Mayor Hagerty an email letter on July 10, notifying the Mayor that Ms. Mcguire’s request for review “alleges that the Council violated OMA by characterizing a June 30, 2017, meeting as an ‘emergency meeting,’ when the subject matter did not constitute a bona fide emergency.

“This office has determined that further inquiry is warranted. Please provide a detailed written response to the allegations in the Request for Review; please specifically address Ms. Mcguire’s assertion that the June 30, 2017, meeting should not have been considered an ‘emergency’ meeting.” A JPG image of Mr. Olson’s letter can be found on the City Clerk’s Facebook page.

Mayor Hagerty’s response is due by July 17.

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