Local Government Lowdown

Get insights and analysis on all the latest Illinois government legal news from Tressler’s local attorneys.

By: Taylor Brewer

The First District Court of Appeals has issued a ruling in Barry v. The City of Chicago, 2021 IL App (1st) 200829, holding that a municipality does not have an obligation to pay PSEBA benefits for Medicare-eligible beneficiaries and their spouses. This case involved 20 plaintiffs, all former Chicago Fire Department employees, who suffered career-ending injuries and were granted benefits under the Public Safety Employees Benefits Act (PSEBA). Under PSEBA, the City of Chicago was obligated to provide lifetime health insurance benefits for the former firefighters, as well as their spouses and certain dependent children. The
Continue Reading First District Cuts Off PSEBA Responsibility For Medicare-Eligible Beneficiaries And Spouses

By: Elizabeth Wagman

On January 11, 2022, Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2022-03 updating the exclusion protocols in schools for individuals who are a confirmed or probable case, a close contact, or symptomatic to reflect the shortened quarantine and isolation periods recommended by the CDC. This was then followed by ISBE releasing the following guidance documents:


Continue Reading ISBE Issues Revised COVID Protocols For Schools

By: Courtney Willits

The Illinois Supreme Court recently heard Mancini Law Group, P.C. v. Schaumburg Police Department, 2021 IL 126675 involving the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA” or the “Act”) where a personal injury law firm filed suit against the Schaumburg Police Department claiming the Police Department violated FOIA when they provided redacted copies of traffic accident reports. The Supreme Court ultimately determined that government entities do not have the authority to waive an individual’s interest in his or her personal or private information in public records.

In 2017, Mancini Law Group filed a FOIA request seeking traffic accident reports
Continue Reading Driver’s Personal Information Remains Protected

In 2017, an arbitrator found that Western Illinois University violated its collective bargaining agreement regarding layoffs of professors. Subsequently, in 2018, the same arbitrator issued a supplemental award, determining that the University failed to comply with the earlier award. The matter proceeded to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board for review. The Board found that the University committed an unfair labor practice in violation of sections 14(a)(1) and 14(a)(8) of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act (115 ILCS 5/1, et seq.) by failing to comply with the two arbitration awards. However, on administrative review, the appellate court disagreed and vacated
Continue Reading That Is Not Your Job! IELRA Arbitrator Exceeded His Authority By Reviewing A Party’s Compliance With His Own Award

In March 2021, the Personnel Committee of the Board of Directors of the South Central Illinois Mass Transit District closed a portion of the meeting to the public, according to the Attorney General’s Public Opinion 21-006. A Request for Review to the Public Access Counselor alleged that the Committee violated OMA because of its failure to record a verbatim recording. The Committee provided a draft of the closed session minutes, an affidavit and a written answer, but admitted that they did not have a verbatim recording of the closed session because the recorder was inadvertently not turned on for that session.
Continue Reading A Reminder that Closed Meetings Require a Verbatim Record Under the Open Meetings Act – A Draft of the Closed Session Minutes Will Not Suffice

According to the Attorney General’s Public Access Opinion 21-007, Peter Czosnyka sent a FOIA (5 ILCS 140/1) request to the Chicago City Clerk’s Office seeking copies of “letters of exception: residential parking issued in the 45th Ward between 05/20/18 to 03/30/21, showing names”.  After an extension, the City Clerk’s Office provided the copies but redacted the subjects’ names, home addresses, vehicle makes/models, and license plate numbers. Czosnyka filed a Request for Review that contested the denial of the names of those persons.

Under Section 1 of FOIA, it states in part that “all records in the custody or possession of
Continue Reading City Clerk Violates FOIA for Redacting Residential Names

The AG’s office issued an opinion on August 31, 2021, concluding that the Mayor’s Office violated Section 3(b) of the FOIA Act (5 ILCS 140/3(d)) according to the Attorney General’s Public Access Opinion 21-008. Chicago Tribune reporter, Gregory Pratt, submitted a request to the Mayor’s office seeking text messages between Mayor Lori Lightfoot and George Miller and Anonsh Ahmed of Loretto Hospital between December 1, 2020, through March 29, 2021. Subsequently, the Mayor’s Office acknowledged receipt of the FOIA request and requested a five-day extension pursuant to section 3e(iii) of FOIA.

After the extension deadline passed, Pratt submitted a Request
Continue Reading Failure to Timely Tender Copies of Mayor Lightfoot’s Text Messages Leads to Violation Section 3(b) of the FOIA Act

The Second District Appellate Court recently affirmed a Winnebago County Court’s decision denying civil penalties against the State’s Attorney for failure to comply with plaintiff’s FOIA request. The Second District’s opinion in Williams v. Bruscato, 2021 IL App (2d) 190971 (July 21, 2021) further clarified when civil penalties can be imposed on public bodies that fail to comply with a FOIA request.

The plaintiff, Marvin Williams, filed a complaint alleging that the State’s Attorney violated FOIA when it denied all three of his requests for grand jury records concerning criminal charges against him. The trial court agreed with the State’s
Continue Reading Court Rejects Civil Penalties for Failure to Comply With FOIA

Plaintiff fell in a pothole and was injured while crossing a service drive next to her home and so sued the City of Chicago. The City’s Tort Immunity Act motion for summary judgment was affirmed on appeal. Crespo-Fregoso v. City of Chicago, 2021 IL App (1st) 200972 (August 9, 2021). The Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act provides that “a local public entity has the duty to exercise ordinary care to maintain its property in a reasonably safe condition for the use in the exercise of ordinary care of people whom the entity intended and permitted to use
Continue Reading City Found to Have No Duty Regarding Pothole Due to Tort Immunity Act and Open and Obvious Condition

Tressler attorneys are speaking at the Illinois Municipal League’s 108th Annual Conference on September 23-25, 2021 at the Hilton Chicago. Please click here to register. We look forward to seeing you there!

When: September 23-25, 2021

Where: Hilton Chicago, 720 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605

Presentations:

Navigating a Harassment/Discrimination Free Workplace

This session focuses on preventing, responding to and defending against harassment and discrimination claims that arise in the workplace. The interactive presentation will take audience
Continue Reading Save the Date: 2021 IML Annual Conference

We are pleased to invite you to our upcoming virtual Tressler Talk: Reconsidering Student Discipline and the Role of Restorative Justice Practices

Thursday, August 5, 20211:00-2:00pm CT

Join us for this complimentary webinar to learn about the history of student discipline in the school setting, the current state of student discipline and expectations for the 2021-2022 school year, including the role of restorative practices.This presentation will combine the legal insight of Tressler education attorneys Elizabeth Wagman, Kathleen Gibbons and Darcy Proctor with the renowned restorative justice experience of Dr. Robert Spicer. Participants will come away from this engaging presentation understanding
Continue Reading Tressler Talks: Reconsidering Student Discipline and the Role of Restorative Justice Practices

In a decision earlier last week, in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a student cheerleader’s off-campus F-bombs about her school is protected speech under the First Amendment. The speech involved a series of F-bombs issued in 2017 on Snapchat by Brandi Levy, then a 14-year-old cheerleader, who failed to make the varsity cheer team at her Pennsylvania School. In response, Levy posted a photo of herself and a friend flipping the bird to the camera, along with a message that said, “F***the school, F***cheer, F***everything.” The posts were made on Levy’s personal cell
Continue Reading Supreme Court Rules Student Off-Campus Speech Protected By First Amendment

On June 11, 2021, the State of Illinois officially moved into Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois Plan. This means that all businesses, large-scale events, conventions, amusement parks, seated spectator events and more can resume operating at full capacity. Additionally, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no longer an outdoor mask requirement and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) guidance that has been governing business operations throughout the pandemic is discontinued, allowing businesses to return to their normal business practices. Per the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Phase 5 Guidance for Businesses and
Continue Reading It’s Finally Here! What You Need To Know About Phase 5

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
Continue Reading Can A Candidate Rely On Signature Requirement Information Supplied By A Municipal Clerk?

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
Continue Reading Appellate Court Determines That 28,000 Pages Of Records Is Not Unduly Burdensome Under FOIA

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
Continue Reading Reminder: May 1st Deadline for Filing of Statement of Economic Interests