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Attorney General Says Orland Park Library Board Violated Open Meetings Act, Again

The Orland Park Public Library Board of Trustees should not have held a meeting on Abraham Lincoln's birthday—a legal holiday in Illinois.

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. 

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John Kraft May 30, 2014 at 09:19 AM
The "new meeting rules" were never deliberated and approved in a legal meeting, making them illegal meeting rules. The AG will soon rule that they are illegal rules and I hope you write about it when they do.
John Kraft May 30, 2014 at 09:22 AM
Ask Pres. Healy to provide a list the "a multitude of public bodies throughout the State" that she claims "determined it wasn't a holiday". There are no such public bodies. Also, the attorney that "wrote the book" for municipalities on the Open Meetings Act, and was present during this illegal meeting, has Lincoln's Birthday listed in his very own book as a holiday.
Sandy Olmsted May 30, 2014 at 12:23 PM
Am I mistaken? Seems to me that both Lincoln's & Washington's Birthday been combined and celebrated on PRESIDENTS DAY, which seems to be considered the legal holiday in recent years.
Inventormiss May 31, 2014 at 12:04 AM
This board needs to be reigned in by the people of Orland Park and the Attorney General. They have become lawless and are spending tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on legal fees (shortly to be in the hundred thousand mark) to fight not only having a more sensible computer policy but illegal board activities as well as stonewalling FOIA requests. It's shameful!!! The pen is mightier than the sword--get out your pens, OP, and write the mayor (whose office has now joined the attempt to delay and stall on FOIA requests to the police department) and the library board. Demand they stop spending your money so wantonly and breaking the law. They are out of control.

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