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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

PAC Dismisses Complaint for Lack of Authority

We haven't heard much from the Public Access Counselor (PAC) this year, at least not in the form of binding opinions (there have been only 4 of those in all of 2015).  As reported previously, most of the PAC's opinions come in the form of advisory, or non-binding opinions.  These opinions are not, unfortunately, available on the Illinois Attorney General's website, so we only hear about these if they are reported on by the local press or if one of our clients receives one. I thought one of these non-binding opinions might be interesting to report on today, because the opinion points out that the PAC's jurisdiction to review and issue an opinion on a request for review is limited to its express authority under the Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act.

In 2015 PAC 36225, the former village president filed a request for review to challenge a village board's override of a veto she delivered to the board while still serving in office. She claimed that the board's action to override her veto violated Section 3.1-40-45 of the Illinois Municipal Code because the action was taken at a rescheduled regular meeting (which she termed a special meeting) rather than at a regular meeting. 

The PAC first noted that it does not have authority to review whether a board's actions comply with the Illinois Municipal Code. The PAC stated that its authority is limited to resolving disputes concerning FOIA and the OMA. Because the allegations in the complaint did not provide a summary of facts supporting any allegation that the board violated the OMA, the PAC dismissed the request for review.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf

Disclaimer: Ancel Glink represents the municipality that was the subject of the complaint.


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