The DeKalb Public Library Board chose the architect, approved the building program for a new library and ratified a vote taken May 12, 2010 in closed session to purchase property formerly occupied by the DeKalb Clinic Chartered. With a unanimous vote the Board crossed their fingers behind their back and whispered, “Mea culpa, let’s move on.”
The disdain the Board has for the public was spelled out in the agenda as “public comments” was placed after all action items in open session and just before the Board voted to go into closed session. That disdain was openly displayed when a board member laughed loudly while a resident of DeKalb, John Anderson, told the board that the public had lost faith in them and that he thought the entire board should resign.
After closed session the Board announced that it held its first ever “semi-annual meeting” to discuss minutes from closed sessions to determine whether or not those minutes should remain private or public as required under 5 ILCS 120/2.06(d).
Wendell Johnson, Library Board President, reported that the Board voted unanimously, in closed session, to keep all of the minutes closed. Every word.
Here are some agenda items for a few of those special closed session meetings that the public has no right to know about, according to the DeKalb Public Library Board:
- Sat. April 12, 2008 … Travel to Remote Sites – Visit to Other Libraries
- Wed. July 30, 2008 … Building Program Discussion
- Wed. Nov 18, 2009 … Approve Levy Request, Approve Letter of Intent
The above is just a select few of the special meetings called by the Board. There are numerous closed sessions throughout meetings posted on the library’s website since 2006. Some of those closed sessions are identified only with language such as Library Law. The public doesn’t have the right to know a single word. Not one.
After the meeting was adjourned, library attorney Gary Cordes, said that a letter he received from the Illinois Attorney General’s office informing him that a DeKalb County Online request for review warranted further investigation was not announced or discussed during open session because it constitutes pending litigation. He said the letter was discussed in closed session.
“You started all of this,” said Cordes. “You know why it was discussed in closed session.”
The Daily Chronicle has also expressed concerns about possible Open Meetings Act violations but apparently Cordes and the Library Board are not concerned about any possible litigation from their end. Correspondence from the Chronicle was read and discussed during open session.
DeKalb County States Attorney, John Farrell, may think otherwise. He will be meeting with Cordes and Dee Coover to discuss any actions his office may pursue in this matter.
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