Aldermen Take Action to Stop City’s Appeal of Judge’s Order in Open Meetings Act Lawsuit

Originally posted February 8, 2017

Recently we learned that a proposed Order forcing the City of Chicago’s Law Department to cease its appeal of a judge’s decision in our Open Meetings Act lawsuit against the City Council, was introduced into the Council by four Aldermen. 
The proposed order confirms that the Council “has never allowed public comment” at its meetings and “the recent lawsuit of Thayer & Garcia vs. Chicago City Council argues that the monthly
City Council meetings violate the Illinois Open Meetings Act by not allowing for public comment.”
It notes that “A new court ruling of the Cook County Circuit Court states that…the City of Chicago is in violation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act, and that public comment must be allowed at every monthly City Council meeting,” and that the City’s Law Department “is currently pursuing an appeal of the ruling and exercising all other legal options to continue to disallow public comment at the City
Council meetings.”
If enacted, the resolution will order that “The Law Department of the City of Chicago, no longer pursue an appeal of the ruling made by the Cook County Circuit Court in Thayer & Garcia vs. Chicago City Council.”
While we did not seek, nor even communicate with the sponsoring aldermen before their introduction of this proposed resolution, we nonetheless commend Aldermen Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th Ward), Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th Ward), John Arena (45th Ward) and Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward) for their action.
Many campaign promises, including pledges of transparency and public influence on legislation, were made to get each of the Aldermen and the Mayor into their current seats. Instead, the mayor has chosen to use the Law Department and our tax dollars to pursue political goals rather than serve the people of Chicago, most infamously with its suppression of the dashcam video showing the police killing of Laquan McDonald.
The passage and enactment of this resolution would begin the process of opening up Chicago government to those who live under its writ, pay its taxes, and do the work that makes our city function. The Council has a clear choice. It can either pass this resolution or, with elections looming in a few years, continue to give evidence that it really doesn’t listen to the people of Chicago.

— Andy Thayer & Rick Garcia, co-plaintiffs, Thayer & Garcia v. Chicago City Council, No. 2016-CH-09212

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