Illinois Attorney General’s Office: “Adams County has acknowledged that its closed session discussions…were improper” 

County Board 1

QUINCY — The Illinois Attorney General’s office has received the recordings of the closed sessions of the Adams County Board and Finance Committee meetings for May and acknowledged the board’s actions during those meetings were “improper”.

In a statement e-mailed from the AG’s communications office Thursday afternoon:

“We are pleased that Adams County has acknowledged that its closed session discussions about public officials’ salaries were improper and has released the closed session verbatim recordings as a result of this office’s review of this matter.”

“It is undisputed that the discussions were improper, as there are no exceptions in section 2(c) of OMA that would allow discussing elected officials’ salaries in closed session.”

That statement reinforced the comment provided by Adams County Assistant State’s Attorney Josh Jones comment in the Muddy River News story on August 2. Jones, who was assigned the case by current Adams County State’s Attorney Gary Farha, approved turning the recordings over the public at the request of former Adams County State’s Attorney Barney Bier.

“It’s not my role to look into if the County Board acted improperly,” Jones said earlier this week. “But under the circumstances, this information should be public.”

Since the Attorney General’s office acknowledged the Adams County Board acted improperly, the office could possibly take further action if it is formally requested to do so by a third party.

Possible actions against the Adams County Board and/or specific members could include criminal misdemeanor charges.

From the statute:

(5 ILCS 120/4)(from Ch. 102, par. 44)
    Sec. 4. Any person violating any of the provisions of this Act, except subsection (b), (c), (d), (e), or (f) of Section 1.05, shall be guilty of a Class C misdemeanor.
(Source: P.A. 97-504, eff. 1-1-12; 97-1153, eff. 1-25-13; 98-900, eff. 8-15-14.)

A Class C misdemeanor in Illinois carries a maximum penalty of up to 30 days in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,500 plus any mandatory court costs. The defendant may be placed on a period of court supervision, conditional discharge or probation for up to two years.

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