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Allen v. Clark Cnty. Park Dist. Bd. of Comm., 2016 IL App (4th) 150963 (11-16-16).Sufficiently infor

Sufficiently informing the public of the nature of the business being conducted before taking final action

Administrator Contracts
Case: Allen v. Clark Cnty. Park Dist. Bd. of Comm., 2016 IL App (4th) 150963 (11-16-16).Sufficiently informing the public of the nature of the business being conducted before taking final action
Date: Wednesday, November 16, 2016

During a public meeting, the board voted to approve two items listed on its agenda as “X. Board Approval of Lease Rates” and “XI. Board Approval of Revised Covenants.” A member of the public then asked the board to describe what it had just voted on, and the board declined to. Plaintiffs then filed suit, alleging the board violated Section 2(e) of the Open Meetings Act by failing to make a sufficient public recital of items X and XI prior to voting on them. Section 2(e) of OMA specifically requires that final action “be preceded by a public recital of the nature of the matter being considered and other information that will inform the public of the business being conducted.” The appellate court found that plaintiffs had sufficiently stated a claim for an OMA violation and that their case would not be dismissed because “although we are unsure precisely what standard of specificity is required of a public recital, we can say with confidence that the Board’s actions in this case were insufficient.” The court reasoned that while “a detailed explanation about the significance or impact of the proposed final action” is not necessary, a public body must provide enough details to inform the public of the nature of the matter being considered.