The Village of Lisle Board of Trustees is holding a meeting tonight, Jan 7, 2013. On the agenda there is an appointment to an advisory board. Notably missing from the agenda and the packet is the name of the person Mayor Broda is proposing to appoint to the Planning & Zoning Commission.
How has the Village of Lisle informed the public of the action it plans to take tonight?
Who is getting appointed?
This follows similar action by the Lisle Board just last month. In another apparent violation of the IL Open Meeting Act, the meeting agenda and packet information for the Dec 17, 2012 meeting omitted the name of the person to be appointed as Trustee. At the Dec 17, 2012 meeting the Board of Trustees took final action an voted to appoint Brad Hettich as Trustee with no notice to the public. Not surprisingly, there was no public comment in favor or against his appointment.
The IL Open Meetings Act was recently amended in July 2012. The changes specifically target increasing transparency and informing the public. The law clarifies the requirements for the meeting agenda. Illinois law now states that the agenda for a public meeting shall set forth the general subject matter of any resolution or ordinance that will be the subject of final action at the meeting.
If the Lisle Village Board intends to make an appointment of an individual to a public office, the name of the person is the singular most important information to provide to the public.
Imagine if President Obama were to announce that he is going to appoint a new Secretary of State but the name of the person is not announced to the public until after approval by Congress? The public would have lost the opportunity to notify their representatives of their concerns or opinions on the subject.
The following press release was issued by the Governor Quinn's Office when the bill, sponsored by DuPage Republicans Sandra Pihos and Kirk Dillard, was signed into law at a ceremony in Wheaton:
As part of his ongoing efforts to increase government accountability and transparency, Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to strengthen the Illinois Open Meetings Act. The governor was joined at the ceremony, held in the DuPage County building council chambers, by local legislators and DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin. Governor Quinn is committed to restoring integrity to Illinois government.
“This law gives the public greater access to information and activities that impact their lives,” Governor Quinn said. “Increasing government openness and accountability from the statewide level to the local level will make Illinois a stronger, more ethical state.”
House Bill 4687, sponsored by Rep. Sandra Pihos (R-Glen Ellyn) and Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale), requires public bodies conducting a public meeting to ensure that a copy of the meeting notice and agenda is available to the public for the entire 48 hours preceding the meeting. The measure specifies that public bodies can satisfy this requirement by posting the meeting notice on the Internet. The law also ensures that meeting agendas provide the public with adequate information about the meeting’s actions.
“I applaud Governor Quinn’s ongoing commitment to achieve more openness and greater transparency in Illinois government,” Chairman Cronin said. “By bridging the information gap between government and taxpayers, we make meaningful progress in the effort to restore the trust of our residents and the integrity of state government.”
“This new law will require all entities subject to the Open Meetings Act to provide a certain level of specificity when creating their agendas,” said Rep. Pihos.
"I'm happy we were able to work together in a bipartisan way to close a loophole that didn't serve the public," Sen. Dillard said. "This measure will help the public be better informed about what their local governments are doing."
Mayor Broda once said "I think we've lost track of the residents. I want them to have input in government. I want to make sure their voices are heard."
How, Mayor Broda, does omitting the names of proposed appointees from the meeting agendas give the residents an opportunity to have input in government?