The Orland Park Public Library Board of Trustees violated the Open Meetings Act again, with a special meeting held Wednesday, Feb. 12—a date considered a legal holiday in Illinois, according to an advisory opinion issued May 19 by the Attorney General's office.
Four individuals filed Requests for Review of the meeting, claiming that the board violated the OMA by holding the meeting on Abraham Lincoln's Birthday, and without sufficient notice. Board President Nancy Healy responded to the determination by stating that the Open Meetings Act does not define which dates are legal holidays.
"In addition, a multitude of public bodies throughout the State of Illinois ranging from villages, cities, park districts, school districts to state universities and police pension boards concluded that February 12 was not a legal holiday and held special meetings on that date," Healy said at a May 19 meeting.
"We appreciate the Office of the Attorney General’s guidance in this situation and, to avoid any further confusion, the Board will no longer hold any special meetings on February 12," Healy said.
The board had previously come under scrutiny for a closed session held during a Jan. 23 meeting, which the Public Access Bureau found to be in accordance with OMA standards, Healy stated.
In another, earlier alleged infraction, two Requests for Review called into question the board's handling of a Jan. 20 public comment session. Specifically, if the board had the right to move the comment portion to the end of the meeting, and if they could limit discussion to topics not mentioned at prior meetings. The Attorney General determined the board had violated the OMA by doing so.
The board has since revised the meeting rules, which are available online. Public Information Officer Bridget Bittman said the board is not taking the revelations lightly, and addressing each problem that arises.
"Now our public comment policy is very clear," Bittman said.