Effingham County Board found to have violated Open Meetings Act
The Effingham County Board violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act (OMA) by holding a meeting without public notification and discussing topics in a closed meeting that did not meet the criteria for closed meetings, the Edgar County Watchdogs (ECW) reported recently.
The attorney general's office issued a notice of the violations on Sept. 15.
In May, the Effingham County Board held a closed meeting to discuss litigation regarding the county's ambulance contracts, and while it discussed a settlement agreement related to those contracts, it also talked about awarding a new contract, which does not constitute a litigation discussion, the ECW said.
For that reason, the board must turn over tapes of that discussion, according to Neil Olson, assistant attorney general and deputy public access counselor.
The ECW's Kirk Allen raised a question about the meeting's legality to Chairman Jim Niemann.
"We attended that particular meeting and even though both attorney’s present disagreed with our legal analysis, they adjourned the meeting," he wrote. "Reading the opinion from the AG, they agreed with our position and ruled that the County Violated OMA, thus the paid attorneys for the county got it wrong."