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Galena Gazette Publications, Inc., v. County of Jo Daviess, No. 2-06-0917 and 0243 (cons.) (July 18,

Adequacy of a motion to go into closed session

Administrator Contracts
Case: Galena Gazette Publications, Inc., v. County of Jo Daviess, No. 2-06-0917 and 0243 (cons.) (July 18, 2007).
Date: Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Local newspapers asked the Jo Daviess County Board to produce tapes of two closed meetings discussing real estate with the City Council of Galena and the Jo Daviess County Planning and Development Committee; the County Board refused. The newspapers filed a lawsuit seeking publication of the tapes and minutes claiming certain peripheral discussions about a lease during the closed meetings were not exempt from disclosure under the Open Meetings Act. On July 18, 2007, the Second District Appellate Court reversed and the Jo Daviess circuit court and ruled that no distinction for purposes of exemption from Open Meetings Act exists between the discussions concerning the “material terms of the lease” and the “peripheral matters such as how the lessee would utilize the space rented”. The court asserted that nothing in the Open Meetings Act draws a distinction between “material” matters and “peripheral” ones and creating such a distinction between them would be “exceedingly difficult to apply” because the line between “material” and “peripheral” terms “is bound to be either arbitrary or vague.” Therefore, the Second District held that the Open Meetings Act applies to tapes and minutes of the entirety of an executive/closed session - even to topics that may be peripheral and could be redacted.