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Local News

'We were not trying to hide anything'

Yorkville Library Board president addresses Open Meetings Act violation

The Yorkville Library Board president said at a board meeting Monday evening that there was no intention to hide anything when a board committee violated the state's Open Meetings Act.

The Kendall County State’s Attorney’s Office ruled this month that Library Board personnel committee members violated the Open Meetings Act when they held a meeting on April 24 without posting an agenda. The State’s Attorney’s Office also stated that the board discussed issues in closed session that should have been in open session.

City Administrator Bart Olson alerted the State’s Attorney’s Office about the potential law violation, according to a letter from Assistant State’s Attorney Leslie Johnson, but Library Board President Russ Walter said Monday evening that he “self-reported” the violation to Deputy City Clerk Lisa Pickering and she then forwarded the information to Olson.

Walter said it wasn’t until the meeting was over that he realized an agenda hadn’t been posted.

“Had I realized it in time, three of five of us would have left and there wouldn’t have been a problem,” Walter said.

Walter acknowledged that the board continued to talk in closed session about issues that should have been discussed in open session.

“We kind of went off on a tangent after we were done with the employee, talking about other things,” he said. “I agree, they should have been in open session.”

As part of the State’s Attorney’s Office requirements, the personnel committee will meet June 18 to resolve the Open Meetings Act violation, he said. The board will need to release minutes from the April 24 meeting and release a portion of the audio recording of the meeting, according to Johnson’s letter.

“We were not spending any money nor approving spending any money as a committee,” Walter said. “No final action was taken on the issues discussed. We were not trying to hide anything. To classify this as damaging the credibility of the Library Board is unfair. We, the Library Board of Trustees, have always been open and transparent in all our meetings. If we were trying to hide anything, we could have made the recording disappear, but we chose to do the correct and legal thing, to report the problem and do what is required to resolve the situation.”

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