No Law Keeps Officials from Revealing What Happens in Secret Sessions

Illinois Leaks (Edgar County Watchdog) has an article laying out the basis for why public officials can talk about what they discuss in Executive Sessions.

the title pretty much tells it all:

Closed Meetings – The truth about what can be shared!

MCC President Walt Packard pulls American Flag to block photographing of the secret meeting about the broadcast tower.

Former McHenry County College President Walt Packard pulls American Flag to block photographing of the secret meeting about a huge broadcast tower the college board was considering allowing to be built on college property.

There numerous reasons that State law allows public bodies to go into secret session and kick out the public.

But there is no law saying that participating public officials can’t tell what goes on in secret session.

Some may remember that the late Leona Nelson was charged by the Crystal Lake Park District with sexual harassment and revealing what went on in such a secret meeting.

She went to court to clear her name.

The park district kept delaying the suit.

I kidded the then-late 80’s Leona, telling her, “They’re just waiting for you to die.”

She decided to drop her suit, but, before she did, the park district admitted that she had broken no law if she had revealed what went on behind closed doors.

This 1990 Appellate Court case might have been the reason:

“There is nothing in the Act that provides a cause of action against a public body for disclosing information from a closed meeting.” (read page 9, paragraph 609 of this Illinois Appellate Case)

Or maybe it was this 1991 Illinois Attorney General’s Opinion:

“There is no provision in the constitution or the Open Meetings Act which expressly authorizes public bodies to sanction their members for revealing what went on during a closed meeting, and there is clearly no constitutional provision from which one may imply such powers.” (Click here for AG Opinion- see page 3)

So when your local tax district’s governing body kicks you out of the room for a secret meeting, know that there is nothing but peer pressure keeping a member from telling you what went on.

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