Taxpayers' interests served by open meetings

By The Madison County Record | Oct 16, 2013

To the Editor:

The October 10, 2013 Caseyville Township meeting began where it usually begins, with an illegal “pre-meeting” on the parking lot. The meeting was called to order by Township Supervisor Canty with letters and previous meeting minutes read by Clerk Jacknewitz. Jacknewitz never mentioned that the Attorney General was requesting meeting minutes regarding several recent open meetings complaints. Jacknewitz also conceded in the October 3, meeting that minutes and  key pages from several ordinances were missing.

I addressed the board about the restroom doors at the Township Senior Center. I requested that before they moved forward with some optional spending, that all restroom doors be made wide enough for someone in a wheelchair.

The victory for taxpayers came after a trustee requested a closed session to discuss contracting a police officer for meetings. Township Attorney Fleming advised it would be a violation of 5 ILCS 120/ The Illinois Open Meetings Act. The board followed Fleming’s advice.  The meeting ended without another illegal closed session taking place.

Please, note that Township Supervisor Canty went to his own expense to purchase a recorder. Going forward, all Caseyville Township meetings will be recorded. I intend to request an ordinance be put in place requiring the board to make audio copies of all meetings.

Through educating ourselves about the Illinois Open Meetings Act and The Illinois Freedom of Information Act, collective efforts are more effectively serving the interest of taxpayers. By educating ourselves about these laws, we are beginning to force legal compliance to openness and transparency laws as originally intended.

Brad VanHoose



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