Committee meeting may have violated Open Meetings Act

Committee meeting may have violated Open Meetings Act

GEORGETOWN — A personnel committee meeting was held last week without proper notification,  in violation of the state’s Open Meetings Act, a city council member alleges.

Alderman Adam Hart said Monday that he believed the June 26 personnel committee meeting was held without 48 hours’ notice, without an agenda being posted publicly, and without notifying all of the city council members about it. He also said that he believed the meeting was held at 1:30 p.m. to discourage other council members from attending it even if they did find out about it.

Mayor Kay Sanders said she called an emergency meeting of the three-member personnel committee on June 26 to review candidates for two positions because she wanted to have recommendations ready for the full council on Monday.

Sanders said that she only contacted the three personnel committee members — Carl Lee Johnson, Tim Waterman and Wilma Wilming — for the meeting.

She said she wanted the committee to recommend a part-time office worker who could fill in as needed, and wanted input from Streets and Alleys Superintendent Tony Ellis before he left on vacation regarding the seven candidates who applied for the streets and alley’s department job that became open when Randy Mariage accepted a job with the Georgetown-Ridge Farm School District.

“All three were available during the day, so why not have the meeting during the day ?” Sanders asked.

She also emphasized that it was an emergency meeting of the committee.

At Monday’s city council meeting, city officials voted to hire Rusty Noggle as a streets and alleys department employee, and to have Michelle McGowan work in the city hall front office as needed to cover for vacationing or absent office workers.

Aldermen did not approve the minutes of the June 26 personnel committee meeting by a vote of three in favor and four opposed.

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CSJ wrote on July 02, 2013 at 10:07 am

Doesn't sound like an "emergency" at all, sounds like we needed to justify the illegal meeting. This newly elected mayor has been an alderperson for the past 2 years as well as her husband holding a one term mayoral office in Georgetown years ago. She was required to take the open meetings act which indicated clearly the guidlines of such meetings.....  Georgetown residents should be more involved in the next election and really know who they are putting into office! The divisiveness, mistrust and secretive demeanor takes the city back 20 years in the political arena!! Just what they don't need!

Watching Urbana wrote on July 04, 2013 at 11:07 pm

NOTHING written in this article constitutes the calling of an 'emergency' meeting. The town wasn't burning down, no one needed to be removed from their position because of a hanis act, no one passed away and a 'temporary' replacement had to be named, etc. Trying to meet the needs of someones schedule IS NOT deemed an emergency. Someone needs to OMA training--fast!!!! 

If their rules say they must post 48 hours prior then they have to stick to that time line, the agenda HAS to be posted publicly at the location of the meeting where the public can see it. If the meeting needs to be done in a closed session then they must open the meeting in an open session then have a motion to go into closed session and then the public must leave the area and then the reverse must happen at the end of the closed meeting to go back into open meeting when the public is allowed to come back in and then the open meeting needs to be adjourned. Therefore, if they did all that, then they're OK, but, it doesn't read that they did.