Chicago City Council Violates Illinois Open Meetings Act, Say Activists

CIMC Repost

Activists Sue City Council. State Law Says Meetings Must Be Open to the General Public and Decisions Made at Closed Meetings Could Be Voided

What: Press conference to discuss a new lawsuit against the Chicago City Council for barring the general public from its meetings of the full Council and barring public comment at same.

Activists have documented that at the start of the May and June meetings of the City Council, no members of the general public were allowed inside despite being first in line to attend an hour and a half before the meetings were set to begin. Instead, numerous apparent guests and employees of the Council and/or Mayor were allowed to “jump the line” and occupy the chamber, effectively barring the general public.

While Mayor Rahm Emanuel has pledged “the most open, accountable, and transparent government that the City of Chicago has ever seen,” activists with decades of experience in attending City Council meetings note that under Mayor Emanuel, the council meetings are even less accessible than under Richard M. Daley.

The Open Meetings Act states that “[C]itizens shall be given advance notice of and the right to attend all meetings at which any business of a public body is discussed or acted upon in any way... The provisions for exceptions to the open meeting requirements shall be strictly construed against closed meetings.” 5 ILCS 120, Sec. 1

“The court, having due regard for orderly administration and the public interest, as well as for the interests of the parties, may grant such relief as it deems appropriate, including granting a relief by mandamus requiring that a meeting be open to the public, granting an injunction against future violations of this Act, ordering the public body to make available to the public such portion of the minutes of a meeting as is not authorized to be kept confidential under this Act, or declaring null and void any final action taken at a closed meeting in violation of this Act.” Sec. 3. (c)

Copies of the lawsuit are available by sending an email to with “Send City Council / OMA Lawsuit” in the subject line.

When: 12:30 PM, Thursday, July 14

Where: In front of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office, 121 N. LaSalle Street, 5th Floor

Who: Attorney Alan Mills, Director of Uptown People’s Law Center, named plaintiffs and longtime activists Andy Thayer and Rick Garcia, and activists representing North Side Action for Justice, Uptown Tent City Organizers, and the Gay Liberation Network.

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