Requiring People to Sign In to Attend a Public Meeting

Yesterday I ran the minutes from the McHenry County Management Services Committee meeting of January 25th.

Lots of talk about measures that could be taken to protect County Board members from members of the public who might like to do them harm at a County Board meeting.

Making people sign in and write why they are attending the meeting. (Schools require people to do that and get a name badge, don’t you know.)

Woodstock Police were at the meetings considering zoning in Coral Township.

Woodstock Police were at the meetings considering zoning in Coral Township.

That’s beyond having the Woodstock Police provide a couple of officers at each meeting.

Wanding folks for knives and guns. (That’s done in the courthouse, after all, and at McHenry City Council meetings. County Board members are as important as Judges and employees of the Circuit Clerk’s Office and city council members, right?)

The old scanners used at the jail could be put by the doors of the Administrative Building, it has been suggested.

Active shooter training is also on the agenda.

Will County must feel insecure, too, because they have scheduled the same for its County Clerk’s Office:
Will Co Active Shooter Training - 2-8-16= = = = =
Somehow I think the State’s Attorney’s Office might be willing to tell the County Board that they would be violating the Open Meetings Act (again) if they try to require people who don’t want to speak to identify themselves.


Requiring People to Sign In to Attend a Public Meeting — 5 Comments

  1. Each school board makes its own policies about public comments.

    Most school boards don’t require a name badge.

    There is no good reason to have the public provide their name and address to attend or give public comments at a board meeting, the school board or administration is just nosy.

    The alleged reason typically given by boards is if they have to get back to the speaker the board has their name and address…well maybe the speaker would prefer the board not have their personal information.

    If the school board asks for attendee or speaker personal information to attend or give public comments at a board meeting, the least the board could do is reciprocate and give the equivalent personal information about each board and administration member (participating in the meetings) next to the sign up sheet…and that would be home address not school address.

    Boards asking for personal information discourages public comments not encourages public comments.

    It should be optional.


    In terms of safety in public facilities, there are far more criminal convictions for inappropriate touching (and more serious) of children in public schools by school employees, than criminal convictions of the public harming a board member.

  2. Last night one of the Milwaukee TV channels had an item relative to ‘smart’ TVs and voice recognition.

    We are moving rapidly toward a society as portrayed in ‘The Minority Report’ and “Demolition Man”.

    School children are being sent home for not eating ‘pop tarts’ correctly.

    Next, there will be a terminal at the County Building where you enter your ‘federal id’ number and are refused entrance if your number is on the ‘terrorist watch list’.

    Meanwhile the only religious institution which adheres to its centuries old routine / rituals and has its own LAW (Sharia) is attracting more and more members while other religious institutions are becoming more liberalized and LOSING members.

    How far do you live from the nearest Mosque?

    The solution to County Building and School security is simple: Destroy those signs with a gun in a circle and a line through it and increase the number of people with concealed carry permits!

  3. Most candidates/incumbants run on the issue of “transparency” yet the most transparent form of government is one which is streamed on line live or via cable TV.

    The Village of Barrington carries all of its meetings on cable, and so should MCBOT.

    Those of us who reside on the Eastern border of McHenry County and work long hours to so that we can pay our McHenry County tax bill would have to drive almost an hour each way to MCBOT meetings.

    I am disappointed not one Candidate from District 1 has made streaming live MCBOT meetings an issue.

    But then again, given sleepy MCBOT incompetence of handling excess reserves at Valley Hi and overall spendthrift ways, MCBOT has great incentive for not wanting taxpayers to witness their incompetence live.

    It would add an extra dimension to this blog to be able to “recap” meetings and “quote” them from live view.

  4. Several years ago the City of Woodstock’s Board of Fire & Police Commissioners met in the PD Chief’s second-floor conference room, to which you had to be admitted and escorted.

    I objected and, as I recall, the Public Access Bureau of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office told the City to move the meetings to a public venue (where access was not controlled).

    Woodstock City Council meetings were open but, if you addressed the Council, you had to state your name and address.

    District 200 Board meetings only required you to sign in if you intended to address the Board.

    When I proposed to the City Council that its public meetings should be broadcast live on Public Access TV, the temperature dropped about 40 degrees in the Council Chambers.

    It is absolutely WRONG to require a visitor to sign in, in order to attend a public meeting.

    Should the cops be at County Board and Committee meetings to protect the public from the bureaucrats?

  5. ^Gus, I’ve brought up the issue of putting in a camera in Woodstock City Hall and streaming meetings like MCC does.

    They give me lame answers like they don’t have money…for a cheap camera.

    But they can sink millions into the courthouse, even though they don’t have a plan.

    They gave out almost half a million dollars to Ford.

    They spent 20,000 on flowers.

    They spend 30,000 on Stage Left Cafe.

    60,00 on a census.

    Wanted to spend 100,000 on astroturf.

    It’s clear to me that they don’t want a camera.

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