Illinois Press Association Spotlights FOI Violators With ‘Worsty’ Awards

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

The Illinois Press Association (IPA) is dead serious about its annual “Worsty” awards that seek to embarrass government officials who ignore the state’s Sunshine Law — but a couple of incidents on this year’s roster reads like proposals for comedy sketches.

Take Jackson County?s supervisor of assessments — please. She told the
Murphysboro American the reason she has never posted the required notices of annual meetings is because she didn?t want a political rival showing up.

As it happens, the rival is a county board member who?d like to see the
assessor position become appointed rather than elected. And that, the
assessor said, will determine whether she will ever alert the public to the
public meetings: ?I don?t know, we will see what (the board member) is doing next year, and if he has moved on to another cause.?

The city council of the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge didn?t go quite so far
— it simply declared in a public notice that a ?special meeting? to be held
at a private country club was ?invitation-only.? Even before the ?Worsty?
award, the Park Ridge town fathers were embarrassed into switching the
meeting to City Hall and dropping that ?invitation-only? wording.

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