The Illinois Office of the Attorney General has determined DeWitt County Board Chair Terry Ferguson and Board member Megan Myers violated the open meetings act but is not issuing any corrective action on the County.
DeWitt County Democrat Pary Chairperson Terry Redman filed the complaint in August stemming from the July 21 meeting where the Board voted to prohibit issuing further building permits to Enel Green Power for its Alta Farms II wind project in northwest DeWitt County. The agenda item sought to get more information from Enel regarding its curtailment of wind turbines during severe weather events.
A Champaign County judge later overturned the Board's decision to withhold those building permits. Myers in email correspondence to Board Chair Ferguson in August defended her motion on the July meeting agenda saying she did her due diligence to ensure any taken was done properly. In the August 6 email, Myers claimed she had contacted Sarah Pratt, Public Access Counselor for the Attorney General's office and that Pratt had told her the motion would not violate the Open Meetings Act.
The Attorney General's office noted in its determination Myers' correspondence with the Attorney General's Public Access Counselor happened after the meeting and Pratt advised the agenda item must identify the general subject matter of any related final action.
The motion Myers filed was under "old and new business" and determination added while the Open Meetings Act does not define the term "general subject matter" the Illinois Senate enacted a provision in 2013 that ensures agendas provide sufficiently descriptive advance notice of the matters upon which a public body anticipates taking final action.
The Attorney General's office determination noted a person reviewing the agenda before the meeting would have been deprived of advance notice of the general subject matter of the Board's action to prohibit the issuance of building permits to Alta Farms Wind Farm until it provided confirmation that power companies would automatically curtail turbines for its wind farm project during severe weather.
While the Board was determined to have violated the open meetings act, the Attorney General's office has deemed no corrective action is required but did request the Board be mindful of its statutory obligations to include on its meeting agendas the general subject matter of all topics of final action.