State: New transparency law already having impact

A measure requiring closed-door meeting minutes be made available to new board and council members in Illinois was used to secure documents before it was even signed into law.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed Wheaton Republican state Rep. Jeanne Ives’ transparency measure June 30. The law requires closed-door meeting minutes to be preserved for future board members.

Ives said even before being signed, the measure helped a newly elected school board member get an injunction against the Elgin Area School District to stop it from destroying two-year-old records so the official could review the documents.

“This shows you the length that certain elected officials will go to to hide information from the public or even from other elected officials. So, already, our law has had an impact even before being signed into law,” Ives said.

Ives said other government transparency measures are needed. For years she has pushed, without success, for union contracts to be made public before being ratified.

“We amended that bill to say that if you have a compensation of $150,000 or more that you’re voting on, that also must be published on a website for two weeks prior to the vote with one public hearing on it so that the public and taxpayers can weigh in and know exactly what’s in that contract,” Ives said.

Ives said details about a rare 10-year teachers’ contract with the Palatine-area Community Consolidated School District 15, which was ratified in April, are still not public. She said that is a perfect example of why her contract transparency measure should have been approved.

Ives said she will bring that bill back up in the future.

–Illinois News Network

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