Attorney General Finds Naperville Electoral Board Guilty of Multiple Open Meetings Act Violations
In a July 23, 2012, response to a request for review, the Public Access Bureau of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General concluded that the Naperville Electoral Board violated three sections of Illinois’ Open Meetings Act in January 2012. Naperville’s Electoral Board, consisting of Mayor George Pradel, City Clerk Pam LaFeber, and senior-most Council Member Doug Krause, were called to review a challenge to citizen petitions seeking to place and advisory referendum on the issue of smart meters on the March 20th ballot. The Electoral Board, who acted under the direction of City Attorney Margo Ely, violated three separate provisions of the Illinois Open Meetings Act:
- State law requires the electoral board to deliberate openly. When the Board voted on the petition objection, they had already voted and signed their final decision to not allow the petition on the ballot.
- State law requires than an agenda must be posted a minimum of 2 days prior to any proceedings. The Board did not post an agenda prior to the last hearing.
- Finally, state law requires the Board to provide an opportunity for public comment and none was given on the date they issued their decision to strike the referendum from the March ballot. Video of these actions can be viewed here (8 min)
In addition to not giving referendum proponents proper due process to prove that there were sufficient valid signatures, the actions taken by the electoral board resulted in Naperville citizens being restricted from exercising their right to vote and is a violation of civil rights.
KEY POINT: Naperville voters would have been able to vote on the smart meter issue if Naperville officials had obeyed the law.
The letter from the Attorney General’s Public Access Bureau can be viewed here: AG Response-OMA Violation
- Naperville Community Television VIDEO: http://www.nctv17.com/napervillenews17/article.php?id=1649
- Chicago Tribune article dated 7/30/2012: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/naperville/chi-naperville-violated-illinois-open-meetings-act-20120730,0,1146122.story
- Daily Herald article dated 7/30/2012: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120730/news/707309733/
- Naperville Sun article: http://napervillesun.suntimes.com/news/14129421-418/attorney-generals-office-raps-citys-knuckles-over-smart-grid-hearings.html
- Naperville City Council Watchdog’s take on this news: http://citycouncilwatchdog.com/2012/08/attorney-generals-office-cites-naperville-electoral-board-on-violations/