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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Law Requires Open Meetings Training for Elected and Appointed Officials

On August 23, 2011, the Illinois General Assembly amended the Open Meetings Act (OMA) to add a new training requirement for all elected and appointed officials of a public body.  This new training requirement does not replace the annual OMA training that must be completed by the OMA officials designated by the public body to receive such training.

Officials holding office on January 1, 2012, have one year in which to complete the training. Officials taking office after that date have 90 days to complete the training. Officials who have already completed an OMA training program are not required to do so again.

The electronic training program is administered by the Public Access Counselor (PAC).  Upon completion of the training, each official must submit a certificate of completion to the PAC. A certificate of completion covers the official for any committee or subcommittee of the public body and for every other public body of which the official may be a member. Instructions to public officials are not yet published by the PAC, but certification as an OMA officer under the current law will satisfy the new requirements.  An elected school board member may satisfy the training requirement by participating in a program conducted by an organization created under §23 of the School Code (school board associations), rather than the program administered by the PAC.

Failure of an official to satisfy the OMA training requirement does not affect the validity of any action taken by the public body. 

The new law is effective January 1, 2012.

UPDATED posts on this topic:  1/2/2012 and 12/27/2011


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