Open Meetings Act

Page Limit Not A Problem For NIU Open Meeting Case

Sep 22, 2017
Katie Finlon / WNIJ

The usual length of a court document will not prevent either side from presenting its full argument in an Open Meetings Act case, according to a DeKalb County court ruling Friday.

Judge Bradley Waller says Misty Haji-Sheikh’s attorney may exceed the page limit for her argument. She says the Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees violated the Open Meetings Act and did not notify the public of former president Doug Baker’s severance package, which was more than $600,000.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

DeKalb County Judge Bradley Waller granted a temporary restraining order on Friday that bars Northern Illinois University from taking further action regarding former President Doug Baker’s severance package after his June resignation.

The university already paid Baker more than $600,000 on July 15.

DeKalb resident Misty Haji-Sheikh sued the NIU Board of Trustees in June for allegedly violating the Open Meetings Act. Waller ruled that NIU cannot take further action regarding Baker’s severance package before the next hearing on Sept. 8.

Whiteside County's new State’s Attorney is defending a meeting of the County Board’s Democratic majority.  The meeting is being investigated by the Illinois attorney general following a complaint it violated the Open Meetings Act. The DeKalb State's Attorney has followed suit in a similar situation.

Meetings Under Review in Whiteside and DeKalb Counties

In Whiteside County, Sauk Valley Media is waiting to hear from the Illinois Attorney General’s office.  At issue--whether members of the county board violated the Open Meetings Act.  Late last month, members of the board allegedly threatened to call police when a reporter tried to cover a discussion over the selection of a new board chairman.  Members contend it was a caucus gathering, not a public meeting.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Thursday to strengthen the Illinois Open Meetings Act by requiring that notice of public meetings and agendas are posted for two full days before the meeting.

“This law gives the public greater access to information and activities that impact their lives,” Quinn said. “Increasing government openness and accountability from the statewide level to the local level will make Illinois a stronger, more ethical state.”

Pages