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updated: 7/15/2011 5:08 PM

McHenry board to get refresher on Open Meetings Act

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A controversial meeting of some McHenry County Board members over a proposed redistricting map has prompted a refresher course for board members on the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

Representatives from the McHenry County state's attorney's office and the Illinois attorney general's office will conduct a one-hour course beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the McHenry County Government Center, 667 Ware Road, Woodstock. The session will take place before the regular board meeting at 7 p.m.

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County board member Donna Kurtz, a Republican from Crystal Lake, requested the session at last month's Management Services Committee meeting.

"The meetings had an appearance of impropriety relative to the Open Meetings Act." Kurtz said. "I think this training is a way to positively deal with behaviors that are not in accordance with the level of integrity and ethical values that we want county government to be run in accordance with."

In late May, five members of the county board met to address an alternative map to the proposed redistricting map the county had drawn. The county was required to redraw district lines after the 2010 Census to adjust for population growth and shifting.

The five board members that participated were Marc Munaretto, Nick Provenzano and Robert Miller -- all Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs committee members -- as well as county board chairman Ken Koehler and vice chairman John Jung Jr.

To avoid reaching the threshold of an open meeting, two of the legislative committee members rotated out of the meeting so that three legislative committee members were never participating at the same time.

The attorney general's office is investigating the meeting for potential violations.

While the actions might not have technically established a quorum of three members participating at one time -- which would have required public notice of the meeting -- some members were concerned the meeting violated the intent of the law.

"Their involvement, at first appearances, doesn't look like they broke the law," said board member Barbara Wheeler, a Republican from Crystal Lake.

"However, they were on the fringe of violating the spirit of the law. Moving forward, we all need to be on the same page."

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