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Blog comments do not reflect the views or opinions of the Author or Ancel Glink. Some of the content may be considered attorney advertising material under the applicable rules of certain states. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Please read our full disclaimer

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Another Election Special Quorum Forum Podcast Released



Ancel Glink's Quorum Forum podcast has just released Episode 16: Election Special! Governmental Issues and Electoral Boards. In this episode, we focus on the local election process. A summary of the podcast is below:

Election season isn’t just for candidates! Local election officials and electoral boards have many responsibilities to make elections happen. Meanwhile, local governments are asked to enforce political sign regulations and electioneering laws. Sometimes local governments get involved in elections themselves with their own referenda and public questions. With so many election-related issues, Ancel Glink’s Keri-Lyn Krafthefer joins us for another election special addressing governmental issues and electoral boards! 

What issues does your local government face during election season? Email us at podcast@ancelglink.com!

This podcast is provided as a service to our public and private sector clients and friends. It is intended to provide timely general information of interest, but should not be considered a substitute for legal advice. Read our full disclaimer: ancelglink.com/disclaimers

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Court Provides Guidance on "Unduly Burdensome" FOIA Requests


An Illinois Appellate Court recently issued a ruling in a FOIA challenge that provides public bodies with helpful guidance on what they need to show when responding to a requester that a particular request is "unduly burdensome." Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law v. Board of Education of City of Chicago.

Shriver had submitted three FOIA requests asking for records pertaining to, among other things, complaints filed with Chicago schools relating to police officer or security guard conduct and employee misconduct reports.  In response to all three requests, the Board sent a notice of extension of time, and then notices that the requests were unduly burdensome under section 3(g) of FOIA and asking the requester to narrow the categorical request. When Shriver did not narrow the requests, the Board denied them as unduly burdensome. Shriver then sued, alleging that the Board willfully and intentionally failed to comply with FOIA. The circuit court dismissed the case against the Board, finding that Shriver's allegations were insufficient to show a violation of FOIA. 

On appeal, the appellate court agreed that the dismissal of Shriver's case against the Board was proper. First, the appellate court determined that the Board properly extended the time to respond to the request by sending notice to Shriver.  Second, the appellate court held that the Board properly denied the request as unduly burdensome after sending notice to Shriver asking it to narrow its categorical request. The appellate court noted that the Board had included a detailed explanation as to why complying with Shriver's request would be unduly burdensome, including the number of files that would have to be compiled, reviewed, and redacted and the Board's estimate of the manpower it would take to do that work. Interestingly, the second FOIA request involved 600 employee misconduct reports, and the appellate court accepted the Board's argument that it would be unduly burdensome to provide these records because it would take hundreds of hours to review and redact the reports.

This is an interesting and helpful decision for public bodies in understanding how courts will analyze requests that are denied as "unduly burdensome." One of the keys to this ruling seemed to be the Board's detailed description in the denial letter as to why compliance would be unduly burdensome.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

New Act Extends PEDA Benefits to Paramedics


The Illinois General Assembly recently enacted P.A. 100-1143 amending the Public Employee Disability Act (PEDA) to expand disability benefits. Currently, PEDA requires a state or local government employer to continue to pay a police officer or firefighter, who is injured in the line of duty and unable to perform his or her duties, the employee's salary for a one year period without requiring the employee to use sick leave or other leave time. This new law extends PEDA benefits to a "full-time paramedic or a firefighter who performs paramedic duties." The Act is effective January 1, 2019.

The bill had been vetoed by Illinois Governor Rauner but the Illinois Senate and House voted to override the veto.

Monday, December 10, 2018

"Holiday Spirits" Quorum Forum Podcast is Live!


One of our most entertaining and quite timely Quorum Forum podcast episodes has just been released.  In Episode 15, "Holiday Spirits," you will hear Ancel Glink attorneys discuss new liquor licensing laws and regulations and much more.

You can access Episode 15 of Quorum Forum podcast here.

This podcast is provided as a service to our public and private sector clients and friends. It is intended to provide timely general information of interest, but should not be considered a substitute for legal advice. Read our full disclaimer here

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Don't Forget to Approve Your Annual Schedule of Regular Meetings


We wanted to send out a reminder that the Illinois Open Meetings Act requires Illinois public bodies to adopt an annual schedule of their regular meetings. So, before the end of the year, Illinois governments should schedule an item on an upcoming meeting agenda for the public body to approve the schedule of meetings for 2019. The annual schedule must include the times and places of all regular meetings. 5 ILCS 120/2.03.

This requirement applies not only to the corporate authorities (city council, village board, park board, school board, library board, township board, etc) but also to subsidiary bodies such as the plan commission, zoning board of appeals, etc. to the extent these subsidiary bodies have "regular" meetings as opposed to scheduling special meetings when needed.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Governor's Removal of IPRB Member Not Subject to Judicial Review


After Illinois Governor Rauner terminated the appointment of a member of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, the terminated member sued, claiming he was wrongfully terminated. The circuit court agreed, but that ruling was reversed by the Illinois Appellate Court, which held that the Governor's decision to remove the IPRB member was not subject to judicial review. The case was eventually appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court in Gregg v. Rauner.

In 2012, Gregg, the mayor of Harrisburg, was appointed by former Governor Quinn to serve on the IPRB board. At the time of his appointment, Gregg was required to file  statement of economic interests. In his statement, he wrote "none" in the space requiring identification of any gift valued over $500. 

In 2013, the former treasurer of Harrisburg notified the state that Gregg had failed to include a medical lift chair that he had received as a gift. No action was taken at that time. 

In 2014, Gregg filed for bankruptcy, indicating on his petition monthly income of $4,027 from operating a business. After Governor Rauner took office, a newspaper reporter contacted the Governor's legal counsel asking whether Gregg's reported income violated state law that prohibits IPRB members from engaging in any other business, employment, or vocation. 

In 2015, Governor Rauner's General Counsel informed Gregg that the Governor's Office had received allegations that Gregg had submitted a false bankruptcy filing and had failed to report gifts on his statement of economic interests. Gregg responded that the income reported on the bankruptcy filing was his wife's and that the statement he filed related to 2011, and he was not asked to file an amended statement in 2012.  Shortly thereafter, the Governor terminated Gregg's appointment,, citing malfeasance, incompetence, and neglect of duty.

The circuit court ruled in favor of Gregg, holding that the reasons given by Rauner were not sufficient to constitute "cause" under state law. The appellate court reversed, finding that the court had no jurisdiction over the removal of members of the IPRB.

The Illinois Supreme Court agreed, finding that the separation of powers doctrine prohibited a court from reviewing the Governor's removal of a member of the IPRB because that review would interfere "with the Governor's responsibility for the faithful execution of the laws."  The Court acknowledged that there are other boards and commissions that are constitutionally created and politically independent where removal could be judicially reviewed; however, the IPRB was not such a board. As a result, the Court concluded that the Governor's decision to remove Gregg from the IPRB board was not subject to judicial review. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Election Special Podcast Just Released on Quorum Forum


Ancel Glink's podcast, Quorum Forum has released a new Episode 14 on elections. Information about this very timely episode is below:


Local election season is underway, and you can’t win an election if you’re not on the ballot. That’s why Ancel Glink partner Keri-Lyn Krafthefer joins us to navigate you through the ballot access process, talking about nomination petitions, the statement of candidacy, the statement of economic interest, and more! 

How are you preparing for local elections in 2019? Tell us about it, podcast@ancelglink.com!

You can access this new episode on the Quorum Forum website here.

This podcast is provided as a service to our public and private sector clients and friends. It is intended to provide timely general information of interest, but should not be considered a substitute for legal advice. Read our full disclaimer here