Continuing Legal Education

Open Meetings Act: Ensuring Public Access to Information

May 24, 2018
12:30 – 4:00 p.m.
3.25 MCLE hours, including 3.25 approved Professional Responsibility MCLE credit hours
Presented by Government Lawyers and Local Government Law

Bilandic Building
160 N. LaSalle Street – Auditorium, 5th Floor
(map and directions)


This lively program is comprised of scenarios, skits, and group discussions, allowing participants to gather information on how to recognize and resolve violations of the Open Meetings Act. The program demonstrates and discusses the requirements of the Open Meetings Act, as well as how to apply the Act to real world situations. Government attorneys, public officials, and private counsel who attend this seminar will better understand:

  • How to prepare for a meeting;
  • The importance of meeting locations;
  • How to handle the virtual attendance of board members;
  • The issues with meeting minutes and board member voting;
  • Public access issues, including virtual access;
  • Board member communication concerns, including texting between members;
  • How to handle closed meetings;
  • The limitations on public comments; and
  • Much more!


Program Coordinators:
Lisle A. Stalter, Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, Waukegan
Athena T. Taite, Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, Chicago

Program Moderator:
Lynn E. Patton, Office of the Attorney General, Springfield

Discussion Leader:
Phillip Lenzini, Kavanaugh Scully Sudow White & Frederick, Peoria
Neil P. Olson, Office of the Attorney General, Springfield

Program Speakers and Participants:
Karen Diamond, Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Niles
Mary L. Milano, Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission, Chicago
Peter J. Orlowicz, U.S. Railroad Retirement Board, Lombard
Martin Shanahan, City of Joliet, Joliet
Lisle A. Stalter, Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, Waukegan
Athena T. Taite, Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, Chicago
Sonni C. Williams, City of Lockport, Lockport


NOTE: You registration includes access to electronic course materials that will be sent to you via email prior to the seminar. Printed course materials may be purchased for a nomial fee via the registration page.



12:30 – 1:00 p.m.  Scene 1: Prelude
The program begins with a look at several Open Meetings Act issues, including: how to prepare for a meeting; choosing the location of public meeting; communicating with board members; and registering members of the public.

1:00 – 1:15 p.m.  Scene 2: Where is Ida Know?
Scene Two explores the virtual attendance of board members and giving members of the public virtual access to a meeting.

1:15 – 1:45 p.m.  Scene 3: Minutes and Voting
Scene Three explores issues with approving the minutes from a meeting, amending the minutes, closed session minutes, and board member voting issues.

1:45 – 2:15 p.m.  Scene 4: Can I See That?
Scene Four addresses public access issues, including agenda packets/materials for board members, taking questions from members of the public, and giving public access to agenda materials.

2:15 – 2:30 p.m.  Break (refreshments provided)

2:30 – 3:00 p.m.  Scene 5: Feeling Left Out
Scene Five examines issues with inaudible communication (such as texting) between board members, bad connections, and consent agenda.

3:00 – 3:30 p.m.  Scene 6: Closed Session
Scene Six discusses issues with closed sessions, including: obtaining access to a closed meeting; determining the location of a closed session; recording the minutes from a closed meeting; and permissible closed session actions.

3:30 – 4:00 p.m.  Scene 7: Public Comment
The program concludes with a look at the limitations on public comments and board members’ attendance during public comments.