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District 308 Board Hears Report on Open Meetings Act Violations

Kendall County State's Attorney Eric Weis has laid out a plan of corrective measures after spring recording errors.

The School Board recently has been in negotiations with Kendall County State’s Attorney Eric Weis over  from this spring.

The board reported to Weis in April that it had neglected to tape record five closed session meetings held April 14, 16, 19, 20 and 21 to hire new district administrators. District attorney Karl Ottosen reported to the board Monday night that he and board president Bill Walsh recently had met with Weis to discuss the violations and a further course of action. 

The Illinois Open Meetings Act requires public bodies to audiotape or videotape all closed meetings.

Ottosen revealed the April 14 meeting went unrecorded because a recorder was not at all present. At the second meeting, a digital recording card was not in the recorder, and at the remaining meetings board members believed the device was recording when in fact it was not. 

“I made a mistake. I recognize that, and I take that seriously,” Walsh said Monday night. “We’ve taken the necessary steps to correct the mistakes.”

Ottosen said Weis laid out several recommendations to ensure the board did not violate OMA again. The number of steps Weis outlined was due in part to numerous violations of the District 308 board dating back many years, Ottosen said.

Contacted Tuesday, Weis said he would not comment on the matter until the issue was considered closed. At that time, a written opinion would be released, Weis said.

Ottosen said Weis is recommending the following corrective actions: 

  • Someone must be present at all board meetings who knows how to operate the recording device.
  • All board members must read the Open Meetings Act and sign a form attesting to that. 
  • All board members must take an annual training provided by the Illinois Attorney General’s office. The board’s attorney must also provide an annual training approved by Weis.
  • Weis also recommends that an attorney be present at all board meetings, Otteson said.

All board members have now completed the required annual training, according to Ottosen, and the matter should be closed in the coming weeks. 

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Julie DiCaro August 05, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Losing? It lost the support of parents of Homestead a long time ago. We can't wait to vote them out.
Julie DiCaro August 05, 2012 at 11:31 PM
BTW, if you have a child attending Murphy Jr. High next year, we've started a private FB group. You can send a request top join to: facebook.com/groups/MurphyJrHighKids
Donna Thill August 06, 2012 at 08:06 PM
So as 308 teacher s begin yet another school year without a current contract, remember just how much the BOE (fiscially responsible new BOE members) is paying out of the coffers for search firms, new DAC administrators, without needing salaries raised bc qualified candidates were already applying, and not attorney fees are being shelled out bc of 5 meeting violations that are said to be all "accidental and human error." Lots of teacher salaries and paraprofessionals could be hired with this fiscal brand of responsibility.
ayar August 13, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Donna, did you see the recent august 9 Ledger-Sentinel FOIA releases with the "raise" the new administrators are making ? why do they get free car allowances, and free health care while teachers have to pay in ? - like you said, fiscal responsibility....I've got to get a type 75 certification, it's better than lotto. $wow$....
Doug Collie August 18, 2012 at 01:20 PM
When you elect officials solely on the premise of cost cutting these are the types of "oversights" that take place. Granted, sitting on a school board is no easy task but when you have made cutting costs your directive every move you make is scrutinized heavily and looked at with the same narrow focus; how much did it cost? This board needs to begin to make decisions based first on the quality of the education that is being provided and second how to be fiscally responsible with said decisions. Oh yes, make sure they record all of it so we know about it.

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