CARLINVILLE, IL. (ECWd) -
Of course their rules are wrong, however, Carlinville is continuing with their amazing efforts to shut down any and all questions related to their actions as public officials and the public body of the city. They have a documented past of failing to provide public records (and lying about it), failing to answer the Attorney General's questions about public records, failing to comply with the Open Meetings Act ("OMA"), and now, threats to unlawfully infringe on the right to speak during the public comment portion of Open Meetings.
So their new attorney decided to read the city's "policy" on public comment during public meetings - we suggest they adopt a new policy that complies with the Open Meetings Act because this one is so far off base, it's not even in the same ballpark.
Before you watch this portion of the video, here is what I heard him say: "Please come to our next public meeting"
Here is what the attorney actually said:
- you have to provide your name and address
- you cannot question or address a city council member by name or individually
- you may only address the council as a whole (corporate authorities)
- you can be removed from the meeting for violating their local rules (no matter how wrong the rules are)
Here is what the Open Meetings Act says:
- Sec. 2.06.
Minutes; right to speak.(g) Any person shall be permitted an opportunity to address public officials under the rules established and recorded by the public body.
Please note, and consistent with the attorney's later reading of an interpretation of FOIA, that there is a difference between a "public body" and a "public official." Additionally, the OMA does not restrict questions and comments to only the public body, but instead grants the right to address "public officials." The right to address each member individually, or address them as a group are both expressly granted under the OMA and that right cannot be diminished by local rules.
Local rules must be reasonable and must enhance the ability to speak, not restrict the ability to speak. Additionally, a public body cannot require a speaker provide his or her address as a condition of exercising their right to speak.
It appears Carlinville is trying to get out of the embarrassment of not answering anything that deals with the new private water company they started, and have taken steps to ensure that all you unruly citizens never question any of their actions and never ask for any public records.