Open Meetings Act

The Open Meetings Act (the “Act”) is found at 5 ILCS 120 and requires that meetings of public bodies and their subsidiary bodies be open to the general public.

Because the Board of Trustees is a public body, it and its committees must hold open, public meetings. There are a number of exceptions to this requirement, which permit a public body to discuss certain specified topics in closed session. These include: the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance, or dismissal of specific employees of the public body; collective negotiating matters between the public body and its employees or their representatives; the purchase or lease of real property by the public body for use of the public body; setting the price for the sale or lease of property owned by the public body; security procedures that relate to the safety of employees, students, staff, etc.; pending, probable or imminent litigation against, affecting or on behalf of the public body; and the minutes of a lawfully closed session held by the public body.

Enforcement of the Act may occur in several ways. Beginning in January 2010, the Public Access Counselor within the Office of the Attorney General was empowered to resolve disputes concerning the Act. The PAC may respond to requests for review by an aggrieved party, may mediate or otherwise informally resolve the dispute, or may issue a binding opinion interpreting the Act. The PAC also may issue advisory (non-binding) opinions interpreting the Act. In addition, the Act allows for civil and criminal enforcement of the Act.