Archived Question of the Month
August 2017
I have received more than 15 FOIA requests over the past 30 days from a local newspaper. Can I classify the newspaper as a “recurrent requester” so that I will have more time to respond to these FOIA requests?
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July 2017
Can a member of a municipality’s zoning board of appeals be appointed for a term that extends beyond the term of the current mayor/village president?
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June 2017
Do newly elected officials have to complete Open Meetings Act training?
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May 2017
Must a public body grant a fee waiver or reduction under FOIA if a requester asks for one?
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April 2017
Can a municipality ban campaign signs on property owned by the municipality, such as at city hall?
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March 2017
What happens if the agenda for an upcoming board meeting was not posted online in advance of the meeting, but was posted at the local government's principal office?
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February 2017
Can a unit of local government reimburse an elected official or employee for entertainment expenses incurred while at a conference?
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October 2016
Can we require residents to remove election signs from their yards 7 days after the election?
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September 2016
Must every ordinance have a first and second reading before being passed?
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August 2016
As an elected official of a public body, am I entitled to access closed session recordings and minutes of the public body?
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July 2016
What is the difference between nonpartisan and independent candidates for office in local elections?
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June 2016
Does a public body have to provide copies of records in response to a FOIA request if those records are posted on its website?
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May 2016
Who appoints the deputy clerk - the village clerk, mayor, or village board?
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February 2016
Can a unit of local government reimburse an elected official or employee for entertainment expenses incurred while at a conference?
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January 2016
Can we limit the total time for public comment at our city council meetings to 30 minutes, and each commenter to 3 minutes?
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December 2015
Can a city council or village board require an individual to register 5 days in advance of a meeting to speak during public comment?
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November 2015
Can a public body begin its meetings with a religious prayer?
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October 2015
Are school districts subject to local zoning?
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September 2015
Can the village trustees, by a 2/3 vote, fire the village president?
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August 2015
A board has determined that closed session meeting minutes do not need to remain confidential any longer and wants to approve their release to the public. Must the board also release the tape recordings for those closed session meetings to the public?
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July 2015
In a village where the treasurer is an appointed office, must the appointed village treasurer be a village resident?
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June 2015
Can a village clerk and village manager attend the closed sessions of the village board?
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May 2015
Our city council meetings are held on Tuesday evenings at 6:00 p.m. Is the deadline for posting the notice on the Sunday before the meeting or must we post it by Friday at 6:00 p.m. since Saturday and Sunday are not business days? Also, if Monday is a holiday, does that mean we need to post the notice on the Thursday before the meeting?
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April 2015
Can the majority of a quorum of a governmental body attend a conference without violating the Open Meetings Act?
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February 2015
In a municipality, how are ordinances published in pamphlet form?
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January 2015
What do I need to do to comply with the new law that requires us to post elected officials' email addresses on our website?
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December 2014
Must a public body allow public comment at every meeting, including committee meetings?
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November 2014
The Village recently hired a Village Administrator. The Administrator has taken over many of the duties of the Mayor. Can we reduce the salary of the Mayor to reflect these reduced responsibilities?
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October 2014
The mayor and city council are being intensely lobbied by a neighborhood association to install a stop sign at the intersection of two quiet residential streets. The association claims that it is difficult to cross the street and that this is a dangerous condition that the city must rectify immediately. To appease the association, can the council simply direct the public works director to install the sign?
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September 2014
A property owner has allowed a large buckthorn tree to overtake his front yard. The thorn-covered branches are overhanging the sidewalk and partially obscuring site lines from the street. Can the city manager have the tree removed?
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August 2014
If a trustee moves out of the village, even temporarily, what are the guidelines for the trustee’s participation in board meetings?
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July 2014
A former village employee is now an elected alderman. He still has a workers' compensation case pending against the City. Is he entitled to receive any reports from defense counsel and/or sit in on executive session when his case is discussed?
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June 2014
Are there prohibitions on elected and appointed officials and city employees accepting free items from vendors doing business with the city, such as tickets to ball games and events, fishing/hunting trips, use of condos during events/trips, etc.?
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May 2014
My village owns some commercial property that is currently of no use to us. The mayor wants to rent the property to a local business owner, but the trustees are divided as to how they would vote on the issue. Can we lease village-owned real estate to a private person or business without having to pass an ordinance?
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April 2014
A municipality wants to move forward with developing a new public park. Without considering other firms, the mayor wants the municipality to enter into a contract with an architecture firm he recently met at a golf outing to do the design development for the project. This firm has never before done work for the municipality. Can the municipality do this?
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March 2014
A city council consisting of six Aldermen and the Mayor hold a special meeting to adopt an ordinance authorizing residents to raise chickens in their backyards. Five of the Aldermen were present at that meeting. The sixth Alderman, who was not present, is a vegan and wants the issue to be reconsidered. He requests a special meeting to reconsider the ordinance. Four Aldermen and the Mayor attend the special meeting and vote to rescind the ordinance. Is the vote to rescind effective?
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February 2014
Can trustees of a village board schedule a special meeting to conduct public business and exclude the mayor (who doesn’t vote anyway) so long as a quorum of the village board is in attendance at that special meeting?
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January 2014
Can a municipality remove negative comments on a municipal Facebook page?
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December 2013
Can local governmental bodies use FOIA in seeking information from other governmental bodies?
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November 2013
Our municipality published a notice of a hearing before the Plan Commission of a proposed site plan change for property where we listed the legal description and told exactly when and where the hearing would take place. A change in the zoning district was also requested. Some citizens have argued that we did not properly list the change in zoning categories requested or give the address of the property.
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October 2013
Can an independent candidate in a municipal election be barred from the ballot because the candidate's petitions contained too many signatures?
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September 2013
Can a governmental body allow consultants or outsiders to attend closed session meetings?
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August 2013
Can an official, at a subsequent meeting, withdraw a vote previously made?
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July 2013
Is any property owned by a governmental body subject to real estate taxes?
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May 2013
When can a governmental body go into closed session to discuss litigation?
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April 2013
Can governmental bodies be fined if contractors doing work for the governmental body fail to pay the prevailing wage?
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March 2013
How can we enforce our town's time limit on political campaign signs? Every election season, candidates set out their signs weeks ahead of the 45-day period before the election, and then after the election the signs stay up long after the 7-day deadline for taking them down. As a mayor up for re-election, I want to stop my opponent from putting signs up early.
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February 2013
Can a Committee of the Whole, Finance Committee or other committee of the corporate authorities of a governmental body vote to approve a matter that does not appear on its agenda and to forward it to the Corporate Authorities for final action?
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January 2013
Can a municipality prosecute vehicle drivers for violations of the Illinois Vehicle Code?
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December 2012
What must a governmental body do when it wishes to cancel a scheduled meeting or change the date, time or place where it regularly meets?
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November 2012
Who is to take the minutes of public meetings?
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October 2012
Can a governmental body or one of its committees hold a workshop or strategic planning session in closed session?
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September 2012
Can a Mayor ask that the Council use a Consent Agenda to have a single vote on a number of items? There is nothing in our ordinances that authorizes the use of a Consent Agenda.
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August 2012
In our municipality, an ordinance passed and the Mayor said at that meeting, he was vetoing it. At the next meeting, he presented written reasons why he opposed the ordinance, but he did not use the word “veto” in his message. Is his veto valid?
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July 2012
Is a governmental body precluded from acting upon a matter if enough citizens sign petitions to cause the question under debate or dispute to be the subject of a non-binding referendum?
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June 2012
Can a television crew set up equipment to video-tape a public meeting?
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May 2012
Under what circumstances must a municipality award contracts only after a formal bidding process?
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April 2012
What happens if a news media outlet has been sent a notice of a meeting but that notice was not received?
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March 2012
Is our government body supposed to do something at the beginning of the calendar year to establish and announce the dates of regular meetings?
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February 2012
What can our government do if our local assessor and county clerk, in a tax cap county, fail to properly extend our tax levy against uncapped new construction?
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January 2012
What does a governmental body need to do to approve a Change Order to a contract previously entered into?
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