Latest from Municipal Minute - Page 2

The Public Access Counselor of the Attorney General’s office (PAC) just issued its third binding opinion for 2021, finding a public body in violation of the Open Meetings Act when it went into closed session under the “probable litigation” exception. PAC Op. 21-003. A City Council went into closed session at a regular meeting, citing the exception contained in 2(c)(11) of the OMA that allows a public body to discuss “probable or imminent litigation.” A resident filed a complaint with the PAC arguing that the Council improperly went into closed session under this exception. In his complaint to the…
Before issuing a proposed rule regarding cooling water intake structures, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent its draft rule to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for review and consultation. Staff members at NMFS and FWS reviewed the draft rule and advised the EPA that its draft rule would likely jeopardize certain species. After continued consultation with these two agencies, the EPA sent a revised proposed rule in March 2014 that addressed the NMFS and FWS concerns, and the agencies subsequently issued a joint final biological opinion and the EPA issued its final…
Ancel Glink’s Quorum Forum Podcast just released Episode 50: Sixth Annual APA-CMS Bar Exam. Details of this podcast are below: The American Planning Association’s Chicago Metro Section and Ancel Glink’s Quorum Forum podcast hosted a live virtual happy hour for the Sixth Annual Bar Exam Planning Law Session! APA-IL President Elect Nina Idemudia and Ancel Glink’s Dan Bolin, Greg Jones and Joyce Jezeer joined planning professionals for a realistic law school simulation covering the year’s noteworthy cases on FOIA, zoning, short-term rentals and more for Quorum Forum’s 50th episode.        Related Stories Upcoming APA Webinar on Fair Housing Law Illinois
The Illinois General Assembly recently introduced three bills of interest to local governments. If passed, the bills would amend the notice and remote meetings provisions of the Open Meetings Act. SB 482, if passed, would expand the alternative procedure for conducting remote meetings of public bodies by removing the current requirement that the State must have issued a disaster declaration before public bodies are authorized to hold remote meetings. The bill also allows a public body to hold a remote meeting if the head of a public body determines either (1) that an in-person meeting is not practical or…
In 2015, an inmate filed a complaint against the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO) claiming the SAO failed to comply with his FOIA request seeking records from five criminal cases in which he was convicted of various offenses. Shortly after the case was filed, the SAO provided the inmate with 2,867 pages of responsive records with applicable redactions based on FOIA exemptions. Nevertheless, the inmate claimed that because the SAO willfully and intentionally failed to comply with FOIA, the court should award fees, costs, and civil penalties. The SAO filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the motion for…
As we have noted previously on Municipal Minute, some of the more interesting opinions out of the Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor (PAC) office are advisory/non-binding opinions. Today, we report on one of these opinions. On August 23, 2020, a member of the public sent a communication to a park district board of commissioners asking the board to place an item on the agenda for an upcoming board of commissioners’ meeting. After receiving an email from the park district’s executive director notifying the individual that the board would not place the requested item on the agenda, the individual filed an…
We don’t see a lot of Attorney General opinions except for those issued by the Public Access Counselor’s office regarding Open Meetings and FOIA complaints. But the Attorney General did just release an opinion regarding incompatibility of two offices earlier this month. Att’y Gen. Op. 21-001. As background, there are certain government offices that are “incompatible” with one another – in other words, a person serving in one government office cannot simultaneously serve in another incompatible government office. There are a number examples in state statute, Attorney General opinions, and even a few court cases that discuss the “incompatibility…
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently overturned a jury verdict against the City of Chicago awarding $44.7 million in damages relating to a shooting by an off duty police officer. First Midwest Bank as Guardian v. City of Chicago. A Chicago police officer shot his friend during an argument when the two had been drinking. The friend suffered traumatic brain and other injuries. The friend sued the City of Chicago seeking damages for the shooting, arguing that the City was responsible for the officer’s conduct. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the City’s failure to have an “early warning system”…
In a rare binding PAC opinion in favor of a public body, the PAC found that a police department properly withhold records relating to alleged sexual offenses against a minor in PAC Op. 21-002. In October 2020, a reporter submitted a FOIA request to a police department seeking records about complaints or allegations involving a named person and a church from 2018 through 2020. The records concerned alleged sexual offenses perpetrated by an adult against a minor. The Department denied the request in its entirety citing FOIA exemptions 7(1)(a), 7(1)(b) and 7(1)(c). After the requestor appealed the denial to…
Yesterday, we reported on a few bills introduced in the Illinois General Assembly relating to local government liability and immunities. Today, we wanted to mention a few recently introduced bills that relate to local government zoning and land use authority. Many of these will look familiar as they or similar bills have been introduced in previous legislative sessions but were not ultimately enacted. HB 812 – Prohibiting Municipal Regulation of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) If passed, this bill would prohibit local governments (including municipalities) from banning accessory dwelling units, sometimes referred to as granny flats, in-law suites, coach houses, and…
A number of bills were recently introduced in the Illinois General Assembly that could impact local governments. We wanted you to be aware of these so you can monitor their progress through the legislature. Eliminate Immunity for the Failure to Diagnose HB 454 would eliminate protections for local governments and public employees from liability caused by the failure to diagnose mental or physical illness. Codify the Public Duty Rule SB 95 would codify the public duty rule and restore protections for local governments and public employees. Readers will remember that the Illinois Supreme Court eliminated the public duty rule (which…
Each holiday season, an Indiana county allows private groups to set up a lighted Christmas display on the front lawn of its historic courthouse, typically consisting of a nativity scene, Santa Claus in his sleigh, reindeer, carolers and large candy-striped poles. Woodring, a county resident, sued the county to take down the nativity scene, arguing that the nativity scene violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause because it conveyed the county’s endorsement of a religious message. In response, the county agued that the nativity scene was part of its secular celebration of a public holiday. The district court sided with Woodring…
Ancel Glink’s Quorum Forum Podcast just released Episode 49: Not in My Park! Regulating Park Activities. A summary of this episode is below: Park agencies manage many acres of public space where sometimes controversial activities take place. What authority does your organization have to regulate protests, public art, and more, while respecting the individual rights of park patrons? Find out as Adam Simon and Dan Bolin discuss during “Not in My Park!” proudly presented by Ancel Glink’s Quorum Forum podcast at the IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights 2021 Virtual Conference! What controversial activities are impacting your parks? Email us at…
In 2018, the City of DeKalb approved a Preliminary Development Incentive Agreement (PDA) with a developer regarding potential financing for the redevelopment of property in the City. The PDA provided that if the developer met certain contingencies specified in the PDA, the City would provide an approximate $2,500,000 Development Incentive in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funding. The PDA imposed certain conditions and obligations on both parties before the agreement was final and prior to funds being distributed to the developer.  After conducting due diligence into the developer, the City Manager recommended that the City terminate the PDA, and the City…
Last week, the Cook County Board adopted an ordinance to enact landlord-tenant regulations in Cook County. Although the ordinance itself does not expressly regulate the conduct of municipalities within Cook County, the ordinance will still be of interest to municipalities because the scope of these new regulations are not limited to the unincorporated areas of Cook County. The approved ordinance, most of which goes into effect in June, includes among other provisions, the following: Provisions mirroring statutory restrictions that prohibit landlords from retaliating against tenants who file complaints with government agencies or from evicting tenants without following the proper eviction…
As new COVID cases continue to decline, Illinois has loosened and, in some cases, lifted the “tier” mitigation measures that were imposed in November. As of today, most of the State’s regions are now in Phase 4, with no additional tier restrictions (Regions 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, and 11 are in Phase 4). Regions 8 and 9 (Lake, McHenry, Kane, and DuPage counties) are still in Tier 1, while Region 4 (St. Louis area) is in Tier 2. You can keep up on these changes by visiting the IDPH website here. Note that on February 2nd, the…