County Board Blanches Open Meetings Act Suit Boil

Before the meeting one of the attendees, Ironworker Business Agent Dirk Enger, was checked by security like everyone else.

Before the meeting one of the attendees, Ironworker Business Agent Dirk Enger, was checked by security like everyone else.

Using a cost-benefit approach, an 18-4 vote of the McHenry County Board settled a suit brought by Local 150 of the International Union of Operating Engineers over an alleged violation of the Open Meetings Act when the majority of a couple of committees attended a press conference held by Governor Bruce Rauner on his Turn Around Agenda.

Sandra Salgado

Sandra Salgado

There were three conditions imposed on the County Board by the settlement:

  1. payment of $25,000 to the union
  2. repeal of the Board resolution supporting Rauner’s platform
  3. agreeing not to subsequently approve a similar resolution

Those voting against the resolution were

  • Diane Evertsen
  • Andrew Gasser
  • Mike Skala
  • Chuck Wheeler

Prior to the vote, the following urged fellow Republicans not to vote for the settlement:

  • McHenry County Republican Party Chairman Sandra Salgado
  • State Rep. candidate Steve Reick
  • Wonder Lake Precinct Committeeman Bob Anderson
  • Crystal Lake Precinct Committeeman John Peltz
  • Richmond Precinct Committeeman Matt Meyer

More Precinct Committeeman stood when Salgado requested they do so.

The settlement, which was not available before the meeting, can be read below:

Settlement Open Meetings Act Suit 1Settlement Open Meetings Act Suit 2Settlement Open Meetings Act Suit 3
Speaking for union members was Dirk Enger, an iron worker and four-year Democratic Party member of the DuPage County Board.

Many of the union representatives sat at the front of the room.

Many of the union representatives sat at the front of the room.

Prior to the vote Diane Evertsen expressed displeasure with the unnamed Assistant State’s Attorney who represented County interests.

She unsuccessfully moved to send the agreement back to the State’s Attorney with the request that a different attorney be assigned to the case.

Nick Provenzano revealed that when the suit was first discussed a request to hire a special assistant State’s Attorney was rejected by State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi.

Based on that decision, Provenzano argued that passed of Evertsen’s measure “would serve no purpose bu to delay.”

Evertsen’s motion was defeated on a voice vote.

Speaking in favor of the motion to approve the agreement was Donna Kurtz.

She said she supported the components of Governor Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda, mentioning term limits, reapportionment reform, allowing local option on Prevailing Wage, etc..

“My vote is not based on being intimidated…but to represent the interests of the taxpayer.”

Wheeler, Chuck facing left on bd floor waist up 4-19-16

Chuck Wheeler

She warned that if the case proceeded, legal fees could exceed those in the Crystal Lake bleacher case, which were over $1 million.

Chuck Wheeler argued against approval, pointing out that he had been told building “projects cost four times what they would cost” with the Prevailing Wage requirement.

He also pointed out that Workers Comp claims were often “scams.”

He told of claims made on Mondays for injuries that occurred at home on weekends.

He joined Evertsen in observing that “the representation we had from the State’s Attorney’s Office was somewhat lacking.”

“Talk is cheap unless you’re talking with a lawyer,” attorney Mike Walkup said.

He said he was looking at the case from the position of a County Board member who was trying “to keep the taxes as low as we possibly can.”

“$25,000. That is chicken feed if the case goes forward.

“You can put a zero behind it just for depositions.”

Walkup said the point at issue–whether attendance by a majority of a committee at a public event constituted a violation of the Open Meetings Act–had not been litigated so it could end up in the Illinois Supreme Court.

“It’s a chance I don’t think we should take.

“We’re not here to make grand political statements.”

Evertsen pointed out that County Board members attended after getting an emailed invitation.

“I have no intention of yielding to extortion, bullying, retaliation!”

Carolyn Schofield pointed out that the Board might not be in its current situation had her attempt to force committee consideration prior to the resolution’s Board passage succeeded.

“I’m tired of McHenry County and its citizens being political pawns between the Governor and Michael Madigan.”

Anna May Miller came to the meeting “with no horse in this race,” having not attended the press conference or voted for the resolution.

However, after hearing the financial arguments she decided to vote for the resolution to save money.

A view from the back of the room after the vote on the settlement with Local 150.

A view from the back of the room after the vote on the settlement with Local 150.

“There never was an Open Meetings Act violation,” Yvonne Barnes asserted.

She said the suit was filed just to make people “look bad.”

Barnes said she would vote for the proposal for “financial reasons.”

Nick Provenzano

Nick Provenzano

Provenzano said he talked to Governor Rauner “face to face” Friday.

“I haven’t ever backed down to any union,” he said.

“I did not back down when I had two vehicles in my driveway blown up twenty feet from my children,” he revealed in certainly the most shocking statement of the evening.

“I clearly have a constitutional right to assemble.

“I will not vote to spend one more dollar on this resolution.”

He said that in his role as Chairman of the Legislative Committee ideas expressed in the resolution might find their way into the County’s legislative proposal in the next couple of months.

“We will not pay one more dollar in blood money to this organization.”


Comments

County Board Blanches Open Meetings Act Suit Boil — 77 Comments

  1. why was Kerri Barber sitting next to serwatka?

    hmmm… isn’t she running for County Board as a democrat?

    alao, it’s time for provenzano to stop drinking Rauner koolaid…

    lmfao.

    roll on, blue.

    take these crooks and hypocrites dowm.

  2. Every time you think this board has hit bottom… they manage to pull another idiotic trick out of the bag.

    No attorney guiding the board… the board did not have the resolution prior to the meeting so that means they were either coached prior to the meeting or were flying by the seat of their pants.

    It was never determined there was a violation of the open meetings act.

    How sad!

    Your elected officials caving to strong-armed tactic by a bunch of bullies and political pressure from Springfield!

    Those board members who voted to approve this action need to excuse themselves from ever holding public office.

    Especially those who claim their vote was meant to protect the taxpayers.

    What do you suppose these bullies will try as their next project?

    And, how much of our money do you suppose this board will hand over to avoid making hard decisions?

    Pitiful!

  3. “It was never determined there was a violation of the open meetings act.”

    There was a photo attached to the complaint filed by 150 showing 8 board members posing with Rauner.

    You only need 7 for an OMA violation.

    That definitely wasn’t an open meeting.

    What’s your argument that this wasn’t an OMA violation?

    You’re not stupid, so that must mean you’re being intentionally deceptive by pretending there might not have been an OMA violation.

    Why?

  4. “Stupid is as stupid does”.

    Whether it is the elected Republicans caving in D.C. or the elected Republicans caving in Woodstock, the result is the same.

    The Progressives / communists win and the taxpayers / conservatives lose.

    Congratulations to the current McHenry County GOP for standing up for the values millions have fought to preserve for us, We The People.

    Last night the unions (progressives / communists) showed that ‘fear’ works.

    Provenzano’s grandstanding will be rewarded the next time he is up for an election.

    The future career of all who voted in favor of caving to the unions / progressives will be decided in the ballot box (if we get a Clerk than can run an election and it will not be Provenzano).

    Let us pray that some additional new blood on the Board will result in the improvement of ‘backbone’ to replace the bone heads.

    Every time now that the unions want something, they will try the same method.

    Why not?

    It has worked wonders in D.C.

    No wonder Trump has so much support!!

  5. rawdogger:

    Read the law!!

    It was a press conference held by the Governor.

    Some union members were refused entrance.

    So what?

    If they have a beef, it is with the Governor, not the County.

    The unions chose to attack the County because they know Rauner would never give in to the extortion but the County Board consists of a majority of bone heads who cower at the slightest threat.

  6. Payback time:

    All future union contracts between public sector unions and employers will include a clause to exclude the collection of union dues by the employer.

    Union employees should have to write their own check or allow ‘direct debit’ for all union dues.

    Next step: Right to work laws and repeal prevailing wage laws.

    Concurrent step: State Legislators place deletion of guaranteed public sector pension referendum on the fall ballot.

    I echo congrats to the County GOP for doing the correct thing last night.

    At least they worked to protect the taxpayers from the union extortion.

  7. conservative voter:

    I’ve read the law.

    Can you show me where the public notice of this meeting was posted? (5 ILCS 120/2.02)

    Can you show me the written minutes of this meeting? (5 ILCS 120/2.06)

    Can you show me a verbatim audio recording? (5 ILCS 120/2.06)

    No?

    Well, there are 3 clear-cut OMA violations right there.

    If I fly specked the Act, I could probably find ten more.

  8. So rawdogger, by your opinion everytime Karen Lewis from CTU holds a press conference the Union violates the OMA?

  9. Ersel?

    You said everything I was thinking – just so much better than I.

    Even I cannot believe how stupid our county board members actually are.

    They caved to bullies.

    But then again, what does anyone expect when we were all taught(indoctrinated) so much that just is not true. …

    “My people perish for lack of knowledge”

    … fits right in with these devastatingly sad times.

  10. Ah, the all-knowing Ersel speaks!!!

    How easy to sit back and critisize …

    it’s what she does best…

    pontificate from hindsight…

    “Pitiful ” in the extreme.

    Thank heaven the voters knew best at election time.

    It won’t spare us her comments but her “knowledge” won’t affect our lives.

  11. I heard over and over again about

    “How we are not scared”,

    “we are not being bullied”.

    Well, BULL$&[email protected]

    Was there a violation of the open meetings act?

    Maybe.

    Probably.

    OK.

    Whatever.

    Pay the fine.

    Apologize.

    Don’t do it again.

    Repeal what you passed.

    If there was no legal meeting, there was no legal vote.

    Good.

    OK.

    BUT!

    DO NOT TELL ME THAT AGREEING TO NEVER TAKE ANY FURTHER OR FUTURE ACTIONS, TOWARDS THE TURNAROUND RESOLUTION, IS NOT A MISTAKE.

    Maybe I’m not reading that short sentence correctly, but I think any lawyer will tell you that now, anything the board EVER does, that remotely resembles Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda, will be a violation of THIS agreement!

    I believe WE the People were raped into submission and 18 board members watched and took on zero responsibility.

    This is far from over.

    This lawsuit WILL rear its ugly head again.

    Nice job you 18!

  12. I want to give a big thanks and well done to the Magnificent 4….you have strength courage and fortitude ……………

    to the other 18 there is not enough room here to vent my displeasure

  13. “I did not back down when I had two vehicles in my driveway blown up twenty feet from my children,” he revealed in certainly the most shocking statement of the evening.

    wait, what?

    Any more details on this alleged incident?

  14. alabamashake, that type of behavior from some of the Local 150 boys has been going on for a long time.

    They have intimidated and harassed people until they agreed to unionize.

    Businesses have been moved to other States because of the Local 150.

    Nygren helped them by refusing to bring charges.

    He knew the Local boys were committing crimes against our tax payers.

  15. Dogsforlife…

    just wait! You will have all sorts of issues where you can show your colors by beating me up.

    Too bad you don’t take the time to provide ideas, or suggestions… to make the conversation productive.

    Cindy got it right when she said…

    “…”My people perish for lack of knowledge”

    … fits right in with these devastatingly sad times.”

    As to the election, I guess we will never know the true results of this one… will we?

  16. Ersel said the resolution didn’t go through committee first, right there is a red flag which kind of makes the action illegal.

    Big hurry to play political games, which obviously they who voted for the resolution have no talent for.

    Nick?

    Scott said it best, pay the fine, trash the resolution, but don’t give up your free speech as a board.

    Rauner’s agenda IMO is poorly done, change will not come from elected officials, only strong pressure from the public will get anything done worth while in Springfield or DC.

    Bruce, put it to a binding referendum, let’s see which way the wind is really blowing.

  17. There are no “binding referendums” allowed with regard to state legislation in Illinois.

  18. Nob, you are so right.

    Now is the time for strong pressure from the public.

    However, we can’t count on all of our elected officials, only some of them.

  19. I’d guess that board members had a copy of the settlement a couple of weeks ago.

    It’s just the public that was kept in the dark.

  20. There is no “fine” to pay Scott.

    This was a lawsuit.

    It would just have kept chugging along.

    The issue was whether or not, if a majority of a quorum of a public body happens to show up for a public event, and the police may or may not have prevented/discouraged members of the public from coming inside, and the topic of the public event happened to be on the agenda of the public body for the next day, does that then become a “meeting” within the meaning of the Open Meetings Act so that notice needed to have been given and the public allowed to enter?

    To determine that, first of all, everyone who attended that meeting, including the Governor, would have been brought in for a deposition.

    That could be 100 people.

    At the deposition they would be asked what was discussed, what questions were asked, who asked them, who gave instructions to the Woodstock Police to keep people out or if they were or were not doing that, etc.

    They all might have had to hire their own lawyers at their own expense for the depositions.

    Each deposition would have cost a few thousand dollars in attorneys’ fees.

    Do the math.

    Then, after all that, the local court would be asked to decide if that was a “meeting” withing the definition of the OMA.

    Any decision would be appealed.

    Then that decision would be appealed again.

    The state Supreme Court might decide to take the case to clear up the matter.

    Four of the seven Supreme Court justices are Democrats.

    The case would involve a sitting Republican governor, and might take place right in the middle of his re-election bid in 2018.

    IF the Supreme Court decided it was a “meeting” and subject to the OMA, all of the fees of the plaintiffs’ attorneys would have to be paid by the county.

    The county would already have had to use the services of the State’s Attorneys’ office up to that point.

    The bleacher case in Crystal Lake ended up costing One Million Dollars (cue Mike Meyers here), just for the resolution of the legal issues, without a lot of depositions having to have been taken.

    That was the problem.

    Do you want to pay a Million Dollars for the principle of the thing?

    Pick your battles.

  21. alabamashake, that type of behavior from some of the Local 150 boys has been going on for a long time.

    allegedly, sure, if you say so.

    But I’m not asking about “this kind of behavior.”

    I’m asking about the specific details of Provenzano’s allegations.

  22. Rawdogger, the entire county board could have been present at the Rauner press conference.

    Their presence, in and of itself, does not constitute an open meetings act violation.

  23. (5 ILCS 120/1) (from Ch. 102, par. 41)

    Sec. 1. Policy. It is the public policy of this State that public bodies exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business and that the people have a right to be informed as to the conduct of their business.

    In order that the people shall be informed, the General Assembly finds and declares that it is the intent of this Act to ensure that the actions of public bodies be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.

    The General Assembly further declares it to be the public policy of this State that its citizens shall be given advance notice of and the right to attend all meetings at which any business of a public body is discussed or acted upon in any way.

    Exceptions to the public’s right to attend exist only in those limited circumstances where the General Assembly has specifically determined that the public interest would be clearly endangered or the personal privacy or guaranteed rights of individuals would be clearly in danger of unwarranted invasion.

    To implement this policy, the General Assembly declares:

    (1) it is the intent of this Act to protect the
    citizen’s right to know; and

    (2) the provisions for exceptions to the open meeting requirements shall be strictly construed against closed meetings.

    (Source: P.A. 88-621, eff. 1-1-95.)

  24. NOTE: “discussed or acted upon in any way”

    NOTE ALSO: “The provisions for exceptions to the open meeting requirements shall be strictly construed against closed meetings.”

    This means that if there was a “discussion” about the “business of the public body”, it is subject to the OPM if a majority of a quorum of that body attend, however inadvertently.

    There was no official notice posted by the county 48 hours in advance of the meeting as required by the OPM.

    Also, any gray areas are to be construed against close meetings, ie., in favor of the meeting being considered to fall under the requirements of the OPM.

    As the County Board had determined that the Rauner Agenda was to be voted upon at meeting to be conducted the very next day, it became the “business of the public body”.

    As soon as the Governor opened his mouth, that could be construed as a “discussion” of the “business of the public body”.

    Additionally, if any Board members asked questions or said anything, that furthers the argument that it is a violation.

    People who criticize what the Board did, should first know the facts.

  25. I am furious over this.

    This is my money these fools are petering away while I am rubbing nickels together to make it through the month.

    I must apologize to the members of the county board.

    Here I thought they were corrupt.

    My mistake, it turns out in the light of day that they are just plain stupid!

    Just like a bunch of giggling, silly school girls a cadre of non thinking nitwits ran to a photo op in Woodstock.

    When the big boys came and tried to blackmail them with trumped up open meetings accusations, they were outsmarted in such a huge way that they all cried and gave the bullies whatever they wanted just to be let off the hook.

    And no Cal.

    You are 100% wrong.

    When the board gets cut their salaries will NOT double.

    There are way too many that are now awake to this incompetence.

  26. When elected officials get together outside of meetings, they are not supposed to talk about official business unless they have notified the public of it as a meeting.

    If 7 of them went for coffee and talked about the Turnaround Resolution the day before voting on it, it would be a violation.

    It’s really very simple.

    You are all correct to be upset with the board members who were so careless to expose taxpayers to this lawsuit.

    It was their action that brought this lawsuit.

    Not extortion, but accountability, and isn’t that what Republicans are all about?

    The blame game is fun to watch, and it’ll be fun when they have to blame others for perjury and fraud when it comes time to examine their hourly pension records.

  27. Extortion wins wrote “So rawdogger, by your opinion everytime Karen Lewis from CTU holds a press conference the Union violates the OMA?”

    No, I don’t believe that OMA is applicable to unions.

    But, let’s rephrase your hypothetical so we don’t evade the question.

    What if the President of the Chicago Board of Education holds a press conference? Is that an OMA violation?

    No, because even if there are enough other board members present to trigger OMA (majority of a quorum), they probably aren’t discussing business among themselves. They’re just there doing the background standing and nodding that is common in press conferences.

    If enough members of the Chicago Board of Education meet to trigger OMA and they discuss business? Sure. That’s definitely a violation.

  28. Paul Serwatka wrote, “Rawdogger, the entire county board could have been present at the Rauner press conference. Their presence, in and of itself, does not constitute an open meetings act violation.”

    Paul, I tend to agree.

    OMA defines a “meeting” as “any gathering . . .of a majority of a quorum of the members of a public body held for the purpose of discussing public business.”

    There’s a question of fact as to whether the County Board Critters discussed business at the Rauner meet-and-greet.

    Local 150 would say that they definitely did because Rauner was pimping his Turnaround Agenda, and that Turnaround Agenda was subsequently passed by the County Board.

    Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t.

    The Board Members in attendance know; we’ll never know.

    Resolution of that question would require the case to go to trial and expose the County to the risk that they get hit with $500,000 in attorney fees instead of the $25,000 wrist slapping they got.

    My primary gripe is that they Board Members in attendance put is in this position in the first place.

    They all have had OMA training–OMA requires that they get it.

    They should have known better.

    The fact that they could be so reckless or ignorant of the laws governing them and put the taxpayers in a situation where we have to defend and settle a lawsuit because of that ignorance is incredible.

  29. I may not be living in Illinois when a reduced County Board raises its salaries to $50,000 and everyone has an administrative assistant, but some reading this may be.

  30. Fighting Corruption writes, “‘rawdogger, no matter how you spell it, this situation was ‘EXTORTION'”

    In the same way that all lawsuits are EXTORTION, sure.

    The simple fact of the matter is that the boneheads we elected put the taxpayers in a position where we have to pay for their stupidity.

    They left a $100 bill on the sidewalk.

    Local 150 jumped at the chance to pick it up.

    Don’t blame Local 150 for doing what any rational actor would do.

    Blame the elected Board Members for being terrible stewards of our tax dollars.

  31. Eli, I believe it is extortion because the Local guys are using this situation as leverage to get other things they want.

    It is, in my opinion, “EXTORTION” protected by a bunch of Attorneys who are paid to finagle the system.

  32. Oh, Ersel, your comments are so wounding.

    I hope I can recover.

    I must be missing how you made the conversation “productive.”

    I saw the same old critisisms of the board that you spout consistensly.

    As to the election, if we “never know” you can always project that you actually “won.”

  33. Can we talk more about Nick Provenzano’s claim that he was car-bombed twice (or maybe one car bombing that took out two vehicles)?

    A car bombing is a pretty rare occurrence.

    I’m sure it would have made local, regional, and probably national news that an elected official was being intimidated in this fashion.

    Has anyone heard this ludicrous claim before?

    Are there any police reports to substantiate it?

  34. The Local 150 is losing power and influence in Illinois.

    I know what has been happening behind the scenes with public officials and the Local 150.

    Many people know and they are no longer willing to keep it a secret.

    The Local 150 Leaders think it’s a big secret.

    “NOT!”

    How many people did they think they could influence in a bad way before all of the information caught up with them?

    Pity, they no longer have Nygren and other public officials to protect them.

    We the people continue to take back our government everyday and we the people are taking the power and influence that the Local 150 once had.

    The people are engaged and willing to fight for what belongs to them.

    The people will “SQUASH THEM LIKE A GRAPE!” by using the electoral process to change the political dynamics in, “The Great State of Illinois”

  35. Here is one article that demonstrates Madigan’s link to Organized labor:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-mike-madigan-campaign-fundraising-met-20160102-story.html

    Contained in the article:

    “More than 68 percent of the political money that moved to Madigan in 2015 came from organized labor, trial lawyers and law firms”

    “So when Madigan set out to raise campaign money to offset the avalanche of Rauner cash, he was able to ask labor unions and trial lawyers to contribute to all of them. And they have”

    Time to remove Madigan and Culertton and time to disband Organized Labor.

  36. According to Wikipedia:

    Michael J. Madigan (born April 19, 1942) is the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives and Chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois.[1]

    He is the longest-serving Speaker in state history, having held the position for all but two years since 1983.[2]

    He has been a member of the Illinois House since 1971, representing the 22nd District, a majority Hispanic area surrounding Midway Airport in Chicago’s Southwest Side.

    Chicago Magazine named Madigan the fourth-most-powerful Chicagoan in 2012 and second in 2013 and 2014, calling him “the Velvet Hammer—a.k.a. the Real Governor of Illinois.”[3][4][5]

    Rich Miller, editor of the Capitol Fax Illinois political newsletter, wrote “the pile of political corpses outside Madigan’s Statehouse door of those who tried to beat him one way or another is a mile high and a mile wide.”[6]

    “He has been a part of the Illinois House since 1971”

    “45 Years”

  37. According to Wikipedia:

    John J. Cullerton (born October 28, 1948) is an American politician who is currently a Democratic member of the Illinois Senate, representing the 6th district since his appointment in 1991.

    He was elected President of the Illinois Senate in 2009

    “He has been in office 24 years”

  38. Dan Duffy Provided this information:

    “Dan Duffy Frank Kelly, Mike Madigan is Speaker of the House and Chairman of the Democratic Party.

    A bill has to pass both Houses before it can go to the governor for his signature.

    As Speaker of the House, Madigan decides what bills can be called for a vote in that chamber.

    If a Democrat (Democrats hold supermajorities in the Illinois legislature and can pass any bill, any time they want, without one Republican vote) does vote the way Madigan wants, he will not give them money for their reelection since he controls the purse strings as chairman of their party.

    The president of the Senate, Cullerton, was Madigan’s floor leader in the House and now president of the Senate due to Madigan’s support.

    Madigan controls both chambers.

    The way to stop this mess, is to vote more Republicans into office in 2016 and take away Madigan’s power as Speaker.

    West Virginia recently did something very similar and in a state controlled by Democrats, last November they voted in enough Republicans to bring balance to their state government.

  39. Precedence Mr. Walkup.

    You all set a dangerous and bad precedence.

    You know, as a good lawyer, that what we do today, which case we fight, win, lose or settle, will set the precedence for ALL future endeavors.

    150 has the board by the preverbial juevos and now we as McHenry County Citizens, are not allowed to look forward to the turnaround we so dearly need.

    I walked just 25 homes today.

    All 25 would have wanted to fight.

    This is sad.

    It is getting harder and harder to walk the walk and sung the praises.

    Gets old quick defending bad decisions.

  40. Can we talk more about Nick Provenzano’s claim that he was car-bombed twice (or maybe one car bombing that took out two vehicles)?

    A car bombing is a pretty rare occurrence.

    Yes, please, can we talk more about this?

    Why have we not heard about this previously?

    Why was this not in the media?

    Police report?

    Or is Provenzano just making stuff up?

  41. Poor Carolyn, yes everybody should have listened to her…sigh.

    And I like Chuck Wheeler, but the comment about so many work comp cases being fraud is patently untrue.

    It is always easy to blame the worker.

    In some respects, union workers are treated like chattel by their union masters too.

    You would be surprised the number of union guys who actually vote Republican.

    The passing the resolution was the right thing, but I suggest it occurred out of political expediency to support Rauner.

    Juusssssssssstttt a little more forethought was needed.

  42. To clarify some of the comments.

    A quorum of the County Board is 13 (being one more than one half of 24 members).

    A majority of a quorum is 7 (7 X 7 = 14).

    Six would be less than a quorum. (6 X 6= 12).

    Six Board Members in a room is not a violation of the OMA. Seven can be depending on two things:

    (1) Is there a ‘discussion’? and

    (2) Is the discussion about the ‘business of the body’?

    Any time anyone speaks and another person is there to hear it, (ie. not in the woods) there is a ‘discussion’, even if there is no response.

    If something has been placed on the agenda of the public body for a resolution and vote, it becomes the ‘business of the body’ even if it is not normally something that is done at that unit of government.

    So, if you now have

    (1) Seven Board Members;

    (2) one person speaking to a room containing all seven members and

    (3) it is concerning something that is on the agenda of that body at a future date, you have a violation of the OMA unless you have an official notice by THAT body published 48 hours in advance AND you allow full public attendance at the meeting.

    Recognition of Reality is not setting any kind of precedent.

  43. After this go around ..I am giving fair notice to all 18 county board members….you know who you are…next election and subsequent elections, there after while walking my precinct I will be singing a different song…and you won’t like the tune…now lets talk about prepared speeches…

    I thought I heard a few…wonder who wrote them for you…the opposition?

    18 of you came up with similar stories as to why you backed down….was the a meeting before hand to discuss this?….

    oh yes before I forget..

    I am glad you weren’t bullied or intimidated………..

  44. So, now, let’s think this thing through given what I have said already:

    To prove their case, the plaintiffs would need to prove that there were 7 vs only 6, County Board Members present at the press conference at some point where someone said something about the Turnaround Agenda.

    Given that the purpose of the press conference was to talk about same, it’s a pretty good bet that this was mentioned.

    The plaintiffs therefore just need to prove that seven, instead of just six, Board Members were present.

    This shouldn’t be hard, but they can make it hard, and thus drive up attorney fees, by insisting that they need to depose each and every person who was there.

    These depositions also have to be held IN PUBLIC.

    They can, and certainly would, INCLUDE THE GOVERNOR.

    Therefore, the GOVERNOR would be required to come to Woodstock and sit for a deposition IN PUBLIC, probably right before the Fall General Election.

    How do you think that would play in the local elections for State Representative? ie. for Jack Franks and Allen Sillicorn and Madigan either having or not having a veto proof majority next year?

    Bear in mind that Franks is in a district which normally voted Republican and Sillicorn is in a district which is a swing district and this may be a banner Democratic year. If the latter loses, Madigan will not even need Frank’s vote to veto override.

    The local GOP needs to thinks these things through before they go off on a tear about this.

  45. Hey, if you want proof of the amount of people there and the message that was discussed, look no further than the images posted by the geniuses at McHenry County’s facebook page.

    The County Board didn’t settle because it was fiscally responsible, they settled because they got caught red handed!

    See for yourself: http://imgur.com/a/JIwo7

    Mike Walkup, kudos to you for essentially admitting guilt @ 2:11

  46. Anyone can sue anyone else at any time for any reason. Your advice as an attorney, is to pay up and not risk fighting a lawsuit? Hmm. Whole new spin on this racket.

  47. Is Nick related to the New York Provenzanos? New York Times had a story about how a Provenzano may have been or was involved in the Hoffa elimination. June 23, 1982.
    “Then, Mr. Allen said, a son of Mr. Fitzsimmons narrowly escaped death when a bomb exploded in his car outside a Detroit bar, leading Mr. Provenzano and Mr. Fitzsimmons to believe that a ”war” had begun. ”They killed Jimmy the next day,” Mr. Allen testified. “

  48. My advice as an attorney is always to evaluate the risks and rewards and make a reasoned recommendation to my client as to whether or not to settle or litigate further, as does every attorney. To do otherwise would be malpractice.

    If we had proceeded to defend this case and lost, the only remedy to the plaintiffs would have been to rescind the resolution and pay whatever attorney fees had been amassed up to that time.

    The First Electric Newspaper Freedom of Information lawsuit about non disclosure by the Nygren administration of an internal report cost us $100,000, mostly in legal fees to the plaintiff’s attorney.

    We are in the same position now as we would have been in had we fought the case and lost, but at lower cost.

    The fact that the vote was so lopsided should tell you something. Going in we thought it was going to be very close.

    I am frankly very disappointed to see that the local GOP leadership and rank and file have been misled and misinformed about this matter, and have taken the positions and actions that they have. This should have been a no brainer.

  49. I know you weren’t, Mike Walkup, you aren’t in the picture, but you do lay out a pretty strong case against the board. Looks like Everson should have been more upset with the facts than with the state’s attorney. I’m surprised Local 150 didn’t get more out of you than just $25k and the rescindment. You guys got pretty lucky.

  50. This whole thing happened because one or more Board members last year wanted to get Brownie Points with the new Governor, and get in on the act in terms of having our County Board be the first county board in the state to support the Turnaround Agenda.

    Then it was somehow arranged for the Governor to have a press conference here, and Members were contacted and urged to attend with no thought apparently being given as to whether or not that could set up an OMA issue.

    It turned out that it did.

    The majority of the Board Members who did not attend are now being tarred with the same brush, and some of us are up for election this year, supposedly being supported by the same GOP whose chief officer decided to lead the charge against us last night.

    I am dumbfounded.

  51. nick pro how many violation of the open meeting act with u attend.

    ui will not vote for u for county board!!

    you cost us lots of money

  52. we McHenry County Republicans….continue to eat our own….

  53. This is what ILLINOIS has become known for.

    Dirty politics.

    I don’t like name-calling but The “local 150” are a group of bullies, extortionist Blackmailers !

    Absolutely DISGUSTING !

    The BOARD took a ‘middle way’ in a lose lose situation.

    People need to stop criticizing the board

    START blaming the ‘the local 150’ .

    I have absolutely no political affiliation with either
    Party, but do see this situation for what it is.

    This is extortion using this open meeting rule to strong
    Arm the Board.

  54. The County Board did the only rational thing that they could.

    I applaud the passion and integrity of the 4 dissenters.

    However, they were free to appear principled as they knew that the other 18 would vote to protect the best interests of the taxpayers.

    Those 18 were not repudiating their support for Rauner’s agenda, nor were they intimidated.

    They were pragmatic, practical, and they were realistic.

    Why most of you don’t at the least try and understand their hard choice is puzzling.

    In 60+ blog comments, why is there so very little outrage at the Local 150?

    In effect, these Union members sued the taxpayers.

    In my view they suffered no harm.

    THEY took our money.

    They did so for political leverage and retribution.

  55. Well said Drake.

    For Mr. Walkup: Please walk away from the keyboard / smart phone.

    Your posting on this topic will likely ensure you never win another election.

  56. I think the “Open Meetings Act” is an unconstitutional law as it restricts the right and fredom to assemble.

    And just because we are elected officials we should not be forced to surrender our God given constutional rights.

    I was taught in my constitutional law classes that the constitution grants powers to the states certain rights are superceded by the constitution.

    This law should be challenged and if we get a conservative justice it might be overturned.

    I don’t think our attorneys would be the right fit for the challenge but the law needs to be challenged still the same.

  57. Yes, VERY well said Drake !

    Did you actually read what Drake said ‘conservative voter’ ?

    Hard to tell because of the rather meaned spirited comment you made about Michael Walk-up.

    Mr Walk-up got on this blog,responded & tried to explain alot

    Of how the board tried to deal with a very difficult situation.

    AGAIN yet another person criticizes a board member or the board & says nothing about the PERPETRATORS, the LOCAL 150.

    Actually, THANK YOU ! ! ! Mr Walkup for getting on this blog & trying to explain to the public !

    Mr Thorsen you came close to speaking the truth, you only said Republicans though.

    You’re post applies to a much wider demographic than you realize.

  58. Its’ a given that the local are bullies.

    Many comments stated that; so you are wrong Drake and watchdog. (Or you don’t fully comprehend what you are reading.)

    I agree with conservative voter on the election thing.

    Mike is painting a very narrow picture of himself on this subject.

    I lost a lot of respect for him after reading these comments.

    Typical attorney junk.

    Instead of standing for truth and integrity he seems to be looking for the weasel way out.

    Sounds very attorneyish to me.

  59. without OMA we have absolutely no defences against back room deals and uncontrollable government legislative activity….I does not limit the right to assemble….just the possibility to legislate behind closed doors….

  60. In all reality, the Open Meetings Act doesn’t prevent any “backroom deals” we all know they still go on all the time, it just takes a little more effort.

    If anything, the OMA gives a false sense of security to the public – that they are somehow protected, when in fact they are not. If 7 members constitutes a violation, then 6 will meet and later confer with the others…. or how about the ole rotate one out every 15 minutes… We all know the lobbying goes on behind the scenes every day and we all know how to operate within the letter of the act while violating the —- out of the spirit of it.

    In all truth, if politicians want to conspire in secret, they will and it can’t be stopped. The answer isn’t in creating more regulations and acts… the answer is in electing representatives who truly wish to serve – and dare I say that too many on the county board do not fall in that category.

  61. Sorry Cindy but disagree !

    This issue is NOT about Mr Walkup acting ‘attorneyish’.

    This is not like going to a Dr. For an opinion on a health issue that you pay a copayment for.

    Getting into a court battle with a powerful Union on an unpresidented area (as it was interpreted by the local 150) about the OMA would cost the board & we taxpayers potentially 10’s or 100’s of thousands of dollars (like another South High School bleachers situation)

    You are being very idealistic on how you are viewing this.

    The board made a practical, smart, common sense decision to not fight this.

    Idealistic action in this situation would have completely backfired.

    My husband was at the meeting & heard Michael walkup’s statements.

    We in McHenry county should be behind the board on this & wait for a scenario to arise where the local 150 is looking for tax money & cooperation from the county & we have the upperhand in the situation.

    May you board members not forget this, & be ready to give the local 150 a dose of some karma medicine in the near future.

  62. Serwatka is unusually interested in a county-level issue, more so than he historically has been.

    I’m calling it now.

    Paul will explore the possibility of and likely run in the 2018 primary for County Board District 5 against Jung and Rein.

    Isn’t it funny that none of the taxfighters in the county are interested in sitting on the less prestigious but more important school boards?

  63. Col. Craig Wilcox… lol.

    Can’t wait til Breen and Rosenberg expose that looney tune for what he is.

    I think you crooked neo-feudalists are scared.

    The dems are well organized and effective; lots of tooth to tail, meaner bite this year too.

    did you experience what they pulled off during the primary?

    it was epic. you conservatives have no clue what’s coming.

    I hear they even fielded a state senate candidate…

    roll on, McHenry blue.

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