The Illinois Attorney General's office has issued a ruling that an emergency meeting the Kankakee County Board held in 2015 violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act.
The local watchdog group, OUTRAGE, brought the complaint to the state in regards to a lack of public notice of the August 19th, 2015 meeting. OUTRAGE argued there was no required 48-hour notice of the meeting.
The Kankakee County Board claimed it was an emergency meeting in which a 19 percent hike in the premium for its liability insurance coverage was scheduled to expire at midnight that day.
The premium on the policy was increasing from $976,000 to $1.9 million per year, according to the Daily-Journal. It provided coverage for public safety functions such as the county jail.
OUTRAGE filed an appeal with the attorney general's office regarding the lack of public notice. Under the law, there must be 48 hours of notice prior to holding a public meeting. The board called the meeting only several hours before approving the policy.
The only exception to the 48-hour notice requirement is a bonda fide emergency, which the attorney general has ruled is only appropriate for unanticipated circumstances.
The OUTRAGE appeal stated the county admitted to knowing the insurance coverage would expire about 60 days prior to calling the meeting. At the time, county officials said the insurance policy wasn't underwritten until the last minute and determined the lack of coverage was the emergency.
Kankakee County Board Chairman Mike Bossert said he disagreed with the ruling.