Galesburg City Council will be investigated as a group, not as an individual, when the Attorney General’s Office of Public Access is investigating possible violations of the Open Meeting Act.
This, according to Illinois AG deputy spokesperson Drew Hill, says the law’s language “imposes legal liability on public authorities.”
According to Hill, this means the AG’s Public Access Bureau will investigate whether the city council, not the identified individual, has violated the OMA.
The request for review was filed by Galesburg 1st District Councilman Bradley Hicks and 7th District Councilman Larry Cox.
WGIL has obtained a copy of Hicks and Cox’s letter to the AG’s Public Access Bureau, inferring that Mayors Peter Schwartzman and Gerald Smith are responsible for the violation.
Hix and Cox also issued a press release on January 13 announcing that they had filed an OMA violation allegation against, among other things, the mayor and mayor.
Hix and Cox say nothing will change
Cox told WGIL he didn’t know the crime would be leveled across all council members, but “nothing changes.”
Cox says, “If I was partially responsible, I would take any action leveled against me.”
Hicks says he knew his complaint was imposed on the entire council, including him.
Hix told WGIL, “It is disappointing that the city attorney did not notify the mayor, city administrators and city council that this topic should not be discussed in closed sessions.” increase.
He says he never raised any concerns about possible violations to the mayor or to the mayor because “they are in no position to do anything about it.”
Hix and Cox’s Jan. 13 news release states:
The alleged violations occurred during City Council enforcement sessions on December 5, 2022 and December 19, 2022. The City Council has convened an executive session for the purpose of discussing the appointment, hiring, compensation, discipline, performance or termination of certain employees. In an executive session on December 5, City Manager Gerald Smith outlined the creation of the assistant his City Manager/Public Works Director position. This position has not yet been created and is a public policy decision, not a personnel matter. At an executive session on Dec. 19, City Manager Gerald He Smith reviewed salary increases and discussed conducting a compensation survey.
what is happening in the process
In most cases, a public access counselor will decide whether further investigation is necessary after seven business days, according to Hill. After making that determination, the public agency will respond within his seven working days and provide the requested records.
But Hill says there is no average time to make a decision. He said it would depend on “the complexity of the legal issue presented and the amount of records at issue.”
On Monday, the city received a letter from the AG office in Illinois regarding the complaint filed by Hicks and Cox, according to city legal counsel Paul Mangieri.
Mangieri says the city’s response to the AG’s office is due by January 30.
Mangeri said it was “premature” for him to comment further until the city has finished submitting a formal response.
Was This Galesburg City Business Right for an Executive Session? Ask Here
Mayor calls council members’ complaints ’embarrassing’
Mayor Peter Schwartzman told WGIL that it was “embarrassing” that Hix and Cox filed these complaints without first communicating their concerns to the city council.
Mr Schwartzman said: The fact that they did it long after the meeting in question suggests hidden motives, possibly involving outside influence. This is very problematic. ”
Schwartzman argues, as Hix and Cox argue, that the items discussed were “Public policy decisions, not personnel issues.”
“All the items discussed were related to the items on the agenda,” he said.
Schwartzman said some of Hix’s recent actions were “aggressive.”
he said: It appears that this kind of initiation is an offensive act and cannot be ignored by the recipient of these requests and should not be ignored by the general public. ”