Lisle Library District trustees have agreed for a second time to hire a consultant after their original vote resulted in an Open Meetings Act complaint and a review by the Illinois attorney general's office.
The board on Wednesday night voted 4-1 to "approve and confirm" its decision to pay Millennia Consulting LLC up to $59,950 to do community engagement work. The Chicago-based firm will conduct surveys, host meetings and use other methods to gather public feedback to assist the library with long-range planning.
The do-over vote came just days before the district is set to respond to allegations that the board violated the state's Open Meetings Act when it first voted Jan. 11 to hire Millennia Consulting.
Lisle resident Liz Sullivan said it wasn't clear on the Jan. 11 agenda who the board was hiring and why. The agenda item related to the consultant read simply: "Hire consultant -- Action Required."
Sullivan, who is seeking a seat on the library board, also said the library failed to include information about the agenda item in the board packet posted online.
So she contacted the public access counselor with Lisa Madigan's office and requested a review. The public access bureau determined that further action is warranted.
Library officials say they have until Friday to respond in writing to Sullivan's allegations. In addition, the attorney general's office requested copies of the notice, agenda and meeting minutes for the January meeting.
Board President Richard Flint said the district's response also will include details about this week's vote.
"Although I personally disagree with the allegations," Flint said, "if there is a segment of the public that would like more clarity about what we're doing with their money -- and what this engagement process is about and what the firm does -- there's certainly no harm in re-voting to ratify the decision that we made."
Unlike what happened in January, the agenda for Wednesday's meeting contained more information about the contract. A copy of the consultant's proposal to implement the community engagement strategy also was included in the board packet.
As a result, an attorney for the district advised the board that its action this week is "a remedy" to what happened in January.
Sullivan, however, said she doesn't believe the do-over vote fixes the potential Open Meetings Act violation.
"The library signed the consulting agreement with the vendor on Jan. 23 ... well in advance of the meeting today," Sullivan told board members Wednesday. "So unless the contract is void, today's vote is moot."
Despite Sullivan's call to have the contract rescinded, Trustee Thomas Hummel was the only board member who opposed its approval. Then, in a separate vote on the library's bills, trustees signed off on the first payment of $13,613 to Millennia Consulting.
Sullivan is one of five candidates seeking three 4-year terms on the library board in the April 4 election. The other candidates are Marjorie Bartelli, Emily Swistak, incumbent John Huff and incumbent Colleen Sehy.