Kendall County State’s Attorney Eric Weis has delivered his decision on allegations that the Oswegoland Park District violated the Open Meetings Act in an executive session last December.
In a memo dated May 16, Weis said he reviewed the minutes, audio recordings, and written transcripts of a closed-door session that took place on Dec. 28, 2011. Weis concluded that portions of the meeting did, in fact, violate the Act by straying from the allowable topics for an executive session.
“A review of the relevant transcript shows that a lengthy discussion regarding the conduct of board members was done in executive session in violation of Section 2 of the Act,” Weis wrote.
It was Park District Board Commissioner Len Wass who initially alerted Weis to the violation. He said Friday that he felt the conversation in the closed session “digressed into areas that were not lawful.”
Park Board President Bob Mattingly said that the off-topic portions of the meeting involved “personal stuff,” and acknowledged that board members were upset during the conversation. Weis noted that none of the discussion involved the spending of public funds, nor any topic that required action from the board.
The solution, Weis said, is for the board to release the written transcript of the unlawful portions of the discussion. The board unanimously agreed to do so Thursday night, and district attorneys said the transcript will be available to the public next week.
Weis said based on the park district's clean record when it comes to Open Meetings Act violations, no further action is required.
"Upon the release of this transcript to the public at its next meeting, I will consider the matter to be closed," Weis wrote.
Wass said he is satisfied with this outcome. And he noted that he has not seen any similar violations, before or since.
“I’m not looking to create any unnecessary problems,” he said, “but it is also important for all the commissioners to understand what is allowed under the law.”