Monday, July 22, 2019

IDNR Advisory Board Violates Open Meetings Act


NRAB Board Meeting
Today political parties differ on nearly every issue, but there is one thing that is more American than anything. It is the idea that citizens can get involved in their government. And while these political differences have divided our country, we have to remember to hold our representatives and those that work on behalf of the people accountable for their actions or lack of, regardless of political party.

As many of you know, I have been involved with the IDNR since Director Miller under Governor Quinn and after attending these meetings over several years I have seen a lack of transparency and violations of the Open Meetings Act. This has been an ongoing issue with this board. According to the minutes from January 2018, George Sisk, Legal Counsel for DNR stated when discussing another possible Open Meetings Act violtion that, “The Open Meeting Act’s main purpose is to provide transparency when it comes to governmental operations and we must error on the side of caution when it comes to complying with OMA.”

I am by no means, a lawyer, a scholar, or a politician, I am a citizen of Illinois, a hunter, angler and outdoor enthusiasts. I started Capitol Outdoors to make sure that people like you had the insight and transparency of their government.

I am here to hold this board accountable for what I believe is a continued violation of the Open Meetings Act.

According to Section 2.02 (a) of the Open Meetings Act:
An agenda for each regular meeting shall be posted at the principal office of the public body and at the location where the meeting is to be held at least 48 hours in advance of the holding of the meeting. A public body that has a website that the full-time staff of the public body maintains shall also post on its website the agenda of any regular meetings of the governing body of that public body.
As of 7:47 am this morning the NRAB website was not updated with today’s agenda. I believe this is a clear violation of the Open Meetings Act. This is not the first time that this has happened and as a member of the public how am I supposed to prepare to educate my audience of issues pertaining to this quarter’s meeting when I have no idea what is on the agenda. And in all the meetings I have attended, I have never once received a printed copy of the agenda so this time wouldn’t be any different.




Another issue related to the Open Meetings act are the minutes.

The only record that the general public has been able to see related to the activity of this advisory board over the last year has been the recordings and accounts by Capitol Outdoors. As you can see from the image above, the last minutes posted were from July 30, 2018.

According to Section 2.06 (b) of the Open Meetings Act:
The minutes of meetings open to the public shall be available for public inspection within 10 days after the approval of such minutes by the public body. Beginning July 1, 2006, at the time it complies with the other requirements of this subsection, a public body that has a website that the full-time staff of the public body maintains shall post the minutes of a regular meeting of its governing body open to the public on the public body's website within 10 days after the approval of the minutes by the public body.
I advise this board to get their head out of the gutter, and start holding themselves accountable.  We must ask the question, is the IDNR and this board Communicating, Collaborating and Connecting with the public or is it business as usual?

Tune in to today’s NRAB meeting via our FB page unfortunately we don't know what will be discussed due to lack of agenda.

If you are unfamiliar with NRAB you can read a previous article of ours explaining the purpose of the board.

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