Sunday, May 24, 2009

BOFPC - June 1

The next meeting of the Woodstock Board of Fire and Police Commissioners will be on June 1, 2009, at 5:00PM. This meeting appears on the Community Calendar on the City's website homepage, but no agenda has yet been published, and the location is not yet known.

Hopefully, this meeting and all future meetings will be held at City Hall, as are meetings of all other Boards and Commissioners of the City of Woodstock.

At this or a near-future meeting of this Board the Office of the City Attorney will conduct a training for Commission members on the rules of the Illinois Open Meetings Act (OMA). The Board violated the OMA at its May 13th Special Meeting, at which the hearing into the Sgt. Gorski matter was to resume.

A motion was made to amend the Chief's complaint against Sgt. Gorski, and Sgt. Gorski's attorney asked for additional time to respond to the motion. The Board and its attorney went into Executive Session, but the court reporter, who was there to record the hearing, remained in the Council chambers.

The Board did not make an audio or video recording of its Executive Session, which is required under the OMA. There are no exceptions to that requirement.

As soon as the question was raised about the possible lack of recording, the City immediately investigated and learned that no recording had been made. The City took very stern action against the Board and let them know that the City considered this OMA violation as a very serious matter.

The City stepped up without hesitation and with complete transparency, which is exactly how it should have. The Mayor and City Manager insist on complete compliance with the OMA. The violation may have been an unintentional oversight of the Board not to record that Executive Session. Probably the only topic of discussion was whether to approve the request by Sgt. Gorski's attorney for time to response to the motion to amend.

But without that recording and the later access to the recording allowed by the OMA, the public would never know.

The immediate corrective action by the City is to be appreciated. And it is.

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