Tri States Public Radio Staff
Mon August 3, 2009
Shedding Some Light on City Government
Macomb, IL – A normally routine matter is coming under scrutiny from a Macomb alderman.
The issue concerns minutes from executive sessions. The Illinois Open Meetings Act allows these closed-door meetings to be held so that local governments can discuss items such as personnel, litigation, and real estate.
Sometimes the minutes from such meetings are eventually made public. However, on August 3 Macomb aldermen were asked to vote on keeping the wraps on certain executive session minutes.
They agreed to do so, although the Seventh Ward's Clay Hinderliter pointed out some of those minutes date back 16 years. He believes discussions about real estate should not need to remain secret for so long.
Hinderliter served in the military for years and says it limited how long documents could remain secret. He says the city should do the same.
"In my other life I used to deal with secret and top secret documents," says Hinderliter. "And by statute, by law, 25 years was about it."
City Clerk Melanie Falk says she reviewed the minutes before recommending they remain closed. She did not know if the city has a limit on how long such minutes can remain closed.
Hinderliter called himself a "Freedom of Information Act guy" and said secret things scare him. He suggested the city should have someone in addition to Falk review executive session minutes.
Upgrading Traffic Signals
Also during its August 3 meeting, aldermen agreed to spend $2,038 on a project to modernize the traffic signals at four intersections. The total cost of the work is $77,884. The difference will be covered by the state.
Mayor Mick Wisslead says the new traffic signals will make the intersections handicap accessible.
The work will be done at Route 67 and University Drive, US Highway 136 and Campbell Street, US Highway 136 and Johnson Street, and US Highway 136 and Wigwam Hollow Road.