Frattini said he met with one-on-one board members to answer any questions they might have about sensitive issues or regular business. Otherwise, all discussions take place in open committee meetings and city council meetings. Frattini said councilors openly discuss the city’s progress with contract negotiations, including critical points in job interviews. Bargaining unit members typically participate in those public meetings and take notes, he said.
“I think people have the right to know and understand why and how decisions are made – if they do, they will draw the foundations,” he said.
The Illinois Open Meetings Act states that it is state public policy “that public bodies exist to assist in the conduct of people’s affairs and that people have the right to be informed of the conduct of their activities”. Therefore, the act declares that “the actions of public bodies are taken openly and that their deliberations are conducted openly”. Exemption provisions, in which elected officials are allowed to discuss matters in private and recorded meetings, “must be rigorously constructed against closed meetings,” reads the act.
The law outlines the reasons why government bodies can enter an executive session. The list includes issues such as personnel matters, delicate security issues, pricing for the sale of public property, litigation and many others. Frattini said he had not outlawed the executive session meetings. If a problem arises that requires an executive session, the board will examine it on a case-by-case basis. But Frattini said that executive sessions are not necessary as part of ordinary activities, as evidenced by the fact that Herrin has gone past three years without one.