Government

Ancel Glink’s Quorum Forum Podcast just released a podcast episode on government ethics that will be helpful to our newly elected officials (and those who want a refresher):  Episode 52: Ethics for Newly Elected Officials In this episode, we celebrate three years of Ancel Glink’s Quorum Forum Podcast (how time flies!), and with so many newly elected officials starting their terms this month, we’re celebrating responsibly by reviewing ethics and conflicts of interest with Keri-Lyn Krafthefer and the Illinois Association of County Board Members. What are some of your most common ethics questions? Email us at podcast@ancelglink.com.          Related…
Before an election, some municipalities will supply a packet of information to prospective candidates indicating the number of signatures required by law to be placed on a ballot. However, can a prospective candidate rely on the number of required signatures provided by the municipality? The answer is… no! A controversy arose out of the Village of Glendale Heights where the Village Clerk distributed candidate packets with the wrong information in them.  The Clerk had reviewed the State Board of Elections Candidate’s Guide and apparently misinterpreted the filing requirements regarding the number of signatures for a petition. 10 ILCS 5/10-3 of the…
We’re celebrating three years of Ancel Glink’s Quorum Forum podcast and, with so many newly elected officials starting their terms this month, we’re celebrating responsibly by reviewing ethics and conflicts of interest with Keri-Lyn Krafthefer and the Illinois Association of County Board Members. What are some of your most common ethics questions? Email us at podcast@ancelglink.com! — Resources — Illinois Association of County Board Members, Ethics – Video:  http://youtube.com/ancelglink​  Ancel Glink’s 2021 Newly Elected Official’s Guide:  http://ancelglink.com/resource​  Quorum Forum 51:  Parliamentary Procedures http://quorumforum.ancelglink.com/2021/04/51-parliamentary-procedures-for-newly.html Quorum Forum · 52: Ethics for Newly Elected Officials
Last month, an Illinois Appellate Court found an individual ineligible to serve as Mayor because of his previous conviction of a federal crime, reversing the circuit court and Municipal Electoral Board that both determined that the individual was eligible for that office because former Illinois Governor Rauner had issued a “Restatement of Rights” to the individual. The Appellate Court noted that although the Governor has the authority to “grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons,” there was no constitutional provision that granted the Governor the power to issue a certificate to restore rights. Instead, the court held that the proper legislative process…
We don’t see a lot of cases that deal with the Open Meetings Act, and very few have addressed the “probable or imminent” exception that allows a public body to go into closed session to discuss threats of litigation. This week, the Illinois Appellate Court issued a decision interpreting that exception and finding against a public body in its use of that exception. The case is worth a read because it goes into considerable detail about the probable or imminent exception and takes a different view or interpretation of that exception than the Public Access Counselor has in recent PAC…
The PAC recently received requests for review from members of the public alleging that the public body improperly imposed content-based restrictions in remote meetings to interrupt and mute public comments made by speakers criticizing named public body officials and employees. In response, the public body argued the speakers were properly muted for abusive personal attacks against named city officials and employees in violation of the public body’s public comment rules. In March 2021, the PAC issued a non-binding opinion concluding that the public body violated the section 2.06(g) of the OMA by impermissibly restricting members of the public from addressing…
In Greer v. Board of Education of the City of Chicago, 2021 IL App (1st) 200429, the appellate court found that reviewing 28,000 pages of records responsive to a FOIA request was not unduly burdensome. On October 12, 2018, Tyrone Greer (“Greer”) submitted a FOIA request to the Board of Education of the City of Chicago (“Board”) seeking records related to racial discrimination claims he made between 1999 and 2005. There were approximately 28,000 pages of records responsive to Greer’s request that would need to be reviewed for potential exemptions. The Board asked Greer to narrow his request, but Greer…
In 2018, Lucy Parsons Labs (LPL) submitted a FOIA request to the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office  seeking a copy of the City’s 150 page “action plan” regarding the City’s public response to the verdict in the highly publicized murder trial of a former CPD officer. The City denied the entire action plan, citing FOIA exemption 7(1)(v), which exempts: “[v]ulnerability assessments, security measures, and response policies or plans that are designed to identify, prevent, or respond to potential attacks upon a community’s population or systems, facilities, or installations, the destruction or contamination of which would constitute a clear and present…
Yesterday, we reported on a number of bills introduced in the Illinois General Assembly to amend FOIA. Today, we summarize some of the bills that propose amendments to the Open Meetings Act (OMA). HB 1765 – If approved, this would amend the OMA to prohibit law enforcement agencies from conducting background checks on speakers at meetings of public bodies except to provide security to protect public officials and others in attendance. HB 2818 – If approved, this would expand the definition of “public body” under the OMA to include governing bodies formed by intergovernmental agreements (IGA). HB 2819 – If…
There has been a lot of bill activity in the Illinois General Assembly’s 102nd Session. Today, we are reporting on some of the bills that, if approved, would amend the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). HB 2815 – If approved, this would amend FOIA to provide that all elected and appointed officials of a public body (including members of the General Assembly) are entitled to access all records of the public body, unless the records are exempt from release under sections 7 or 7.5 of FOIA, without having to file a FOIA request. HB 2816 – If approved, this would…
The Illinois Governmental Ethics Act, 5 ILCS 420/4A-101 et seq., requires certain local government officials and employees to file a verified written statement of economic interests (“Statement of Economic Interests”) on or before May 1st of each year. In most cases, the Statement of Economic Interests must be filed with the County Clerk of the county in which the principal office of the unit of government with which the person is associated is located. If you are required to file a Statement of Economic Interests, then you should have received notice from your County Clerk’s office. If a Statement of Economic Interests is…
In 2015, Charles Green submitted a FOIA request to the Chicago Police Department seeking all closed complaint register files (CRs) for all Chicago police officers. After CPD failed to respond to the request, Green filed a lawsuit seeking an order directing CPD to release the requested files. However, the requester’s lawsuit was continued, because an injunction entered by another court prohibited CPD from releasing any CR files that were older than four years from the date of any FOIA request. That injunction was later vacated in 2016. In 2020, the circuit court ruled in favor of the requester and ordered…
The Governor approved the first Public Act of the 102nd General Assembly last week in P.A. 102-001. This new law amends various provisions of the Election Code, including the following: The State Board of Elections is authorized to release federal funds under the Help America Vote Act to local election authorities maintain secure collection sites for mail-in ballots. Election authorities are authorized to establish curb-side voting during early voting and on election day. Election authorities are required to accept any vote by mail ballot, including those with insufficient or no postage.  Election authorities that maintain collection sites for mail-in…
Over the past few years, we have kept readers informed about cases involving elected officials and their use of social media. You may recall the case in Virginia where a court of appeals determined that a county commissioner’s blocking of users from her Facebook page was a First Amendment violation. The most talked about case involving an elected official’s use of social media, however, was the case filed by the Knight First Amendment Institute against then-President Trump alleging that his blocking of users who criticized him on Twitter was a violation of the First Amendment. That case made its way…
On March 23, 2021, the Governor signed legislation into effect amending the Illinois Human Rights Act to prohibit employers from barring applicants with conviction records from employment opportunities. Employers are now required to participate in an interactive process with the applicant/employee to determine whether there is a substantial relationship or unreasonable risk between the conviction noted in the records and the employment opportunity. The amendment provides employees the right to receive written notice of the employer’s determination with an explanation of the decision. Additionally, the employee/applicant is now provided an opportunity to respond with information on mitigating measures that may impact the…
In 2018, a requestor submitted a FOIA request to the Chicago Board of Education seeking documents related to the requestor’s racial discrimination claims made between 1999 and 2005. After identifying approximately 28,000 pages of records that would need to be reviewed for potential exemptions, the Board asked the requestor to narrow his request, which is permitted by FOIA. When the requestor refused, the Board denied the FOIA request as unduly burdensome. The requester sued, and the circuit court ruled in favor of the Board. The requestor then appealed. In Greer v. Board of Education of the City of Chicago,…