O’Brien leaves airport in spite of rally, state’s attorney finds no violations of Open Meetings Act
By Jim Hagerty
An effort by a group of residents to ask Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) to persuade the Airport Authority to come to terms with outgoing Executive Director Bob O’Brien was not strong enough.
About a dozen people rallied outside City Hall before the City Council meeting Monday, April 4, in hopes Morrissey would intervene and O’Brien would stay at his post.
Neither Morrissey nor O’Brien attended the rally.
Meantime, organizer Paul Gorski contacted Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato’s office to inquire about whether the Airport Authority Board of Commissioners may have violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act while it dealt with O’Brien’s resignation and severance package.
Gorski told The Rock River Times that Deputy State’s Attorney David Kurlinkus responded and determined a violation had not occurred.
According to information Gorski obtained from Kurlinkus, O’Brien signed a binding separation agreement with the Airport Authority and the steps to approve it were taken properly.
April 4, Acting Board of Commissioners Chairman Bharat Puri issued a public notice, announcing a special board meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 7. O’Brien’s severance agreement has been placed on the meeting agenda. Commissioners are expected to vote on the item Thursday, April 7.
Gorski did not challenge the state’s attorney.
“Dave Kurlinkus has informed me that there doesn’t appear to be a violation of the Open Meetings Act,” Gorski said. “I am saddened that this means that Bob is really gone.”
O’Brien resigned as executive director after a reportedly heated Airport Authority board meeting last Tuesday, March 29. Chairman Brian Boyer also left the board.
From the April 6-12, 2011 issue
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