ABC 20 Streaming LiveSpotlight 20Pump PatrolRaw NewsFriday Night HangtimePay It Forward


SUNDAY NIGHT: Snow Flurries Ending. Low: 22. Winds: North 10-20 mph gusting to 30 mph.

MONDAY: Mostly Cloudy. High: 37. Winds: West 5-15 mph.

TUESDAY: Mostly Sunny. High: ...

more »

Advertise with us!

Search Results

The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Legal Expert Weighs in on Open Meetings Act in DeWitt County

Did the DeWitt County Board violate state law by changing an agenda ahead of a scheduled meeting?

A former county board member and head of the newly-created organization Better Government for DeWitt County says "yes."

It all comes down to when the people in charge of the board changed the agenda for the meeting. In this instance, it's a matter of minutes.
Under Illinois' Open Meetings Act, public bodies ranging from town boards to state legislative committees are required to post an agenda 48 hours ahead of a meeting for the public to review.

"The purpose of the Open Meetings Act is to ensure the public has an opportunity to attend meetings of the public body, which is defined, and to know as much as they want with what's going on," said Springfield attorney Tom Kelty.
Former DeWitt County Board member Rusty Davenport argues the chair changed the agenda in less time than is required.
Surveillance video from the county building on March 5 shows the board chair and vice chair walking in to change the posted agenda around 7:13 p.m. The county board meeting was scheduled for 7:00 p.m. two nights later.

"Obviously if you've gotta come in at 7:15 and post an agenda over the already legally posted agenda, I find that to be very non-transparent," Davenport said.
Board chair Sherrie Brown argues the meeting in question started after 7:00 p.m.

"The agenda I posted, which I had spoke to the clerk and asked her to change it, remove the item, and she refused," Brown said. "That is the authority of  the chair to control the agenda, and so I was left with no option."
The dispute is over a matter of minutes.
Kelty says the open meetings act isn't cut and dry. There's room for interpretation.
"Particularly of interest to the court would be what was it that was posted, and was it acted on by the county board in this case," Kelty said. "If it were something on the agenda for informational purposes and discussion, then more than likely there's no problem, no harm, no foul. But, if it's something substantive - an ordinance adopted or a contract approval the public needs to have input into - and they don't feel they have adequate notice, could be a problem."
The difference between the old and new agenda was a line item about disciplinary action against two county employees.

The board chair wanted it. The board didn't.

Some board members wanted the suspensions removed from the employees' records.

In the end, the board ended up using the original agenda for the meeting.
The former county board member, Rusty Davenport, is considering legal action
He's also asking for the chair and vice chair to step down.

  • WICS :: News - The Ferguson Decision

    The Ferguson Decision

  • WICS :: News - Tracking Ebola

    Tracking Ebola

  • WICS :: News - Traffic


    Get up to the minute traffic reports from WICS NewsChannel 20!
  • WICS :: News - Road Trippin News

    Road Trippin News

    Missed a Road Trippin segment that aired in the news? Check it out here!
  • WICS :: News - Health Matters

    Health Matters

    Featuring news segment videos about health.
  • WICS :: News - In The Kitchen

    In The Kitchen

    Watch the area's best chefs whip up their tastiest creations. See them in action and get their recipes to try at home. 
  • WICS :: News - Behind The Headlines

    Behind The Headlines

    Get Behind the Headlines commentary with Mark Hyman.
  • WICS :: News - Ready, Set, Shred

    Ready, Set, Shred

    In an exclusive eight-week investigation, ABC Newschannel 20 digs deep into the Springfield police document shredding scandal.
  • WICS :: News - Pay it Forward

    Pay it Forward

    Pay It Forward... because sometimes people need a little extra help.
  • WICS :: News - Ask the Expert

    Ask the Expert

    Do you need expert advice? Here's your chance to ask our experts!
  • WICS :: News - Your Voice. Your Future.

    Your Voice. Your Future.

    As the country faces challenges from federal budget issues to jobs and national debt, your voice is critical to the future.
  • WICS :: News - Road Trippin

    Road Trippin

    Come Road Trippin' with us! Check out all the great attractions in your area!
  • WICS :: News - Pump Patrol

    Pump Patrol

    Check out the ABC Newschannel 20's Pump Patrol to find the lowest prices, report low prices and get gas saving tips.

  • WICS :: News - Spotlight 20

    Spotlight 20

    Local organizations and community leaders tell us about events in central Illinois.
  • WICS :: News - Raw News

    Raw News

    Watch extra news footage, full interviews, and extended stories that didn't make it on air.  "Raw News" may include content that is not suitable for children and is intended for mature audiences only.
  • WICS :: News - On the Farm

    On the Farm

    Whether it's topical segments on what's happening on local farms to commodity prices, we have the world of central Illinois agriculture covered.
  • WICS :: News - Fugitive Files

    Fugitive Files

  • WICS :: News - Home Room

    Home Room

    When's the next school board meeting? Where's the basketball game? What's for lunch today? Do we have a snow day tomorrow? We have all the information you need for a successful school year--no pencil or ...
  • WICS :: News - No Text Zone

    No Text Zone

    Texting while driving kills thousands of people each year. Many more are seriously injured.  Keep central Illinois roads safe by taking the "No Text Zone" pledge.
  • WICS :: News - Business News

    Business News

    Stay up-to-date on the biggest business stories from around the nation.
  • WICS :: News - Pet of the Week

    Pet of the Week

    The cutest video you'll see anywhere! You won't be able to resist these adorable friends who need someone to love them.
  • WICS :: News - Waste Watch

    Waste Watch

    How are your tax dollars being spent? Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments are using your money wisely...or wasting it.
  • WICS :: News - Washington Times

    Washington Times

    Politics, Breaking News, US and World News.
  • WICS :: News - Health Care Reform

    Health Care Reform

    The Supreme Court ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act sparked a new battle. Check here daily for the latest developments, locally and across the country.

more »

Tonight on WICS

America's Funniest Home Videos
A little girl denies eating cake -- despite the evidence on her face.

Isabella wants Galavant to impress her parents; a plot to kill Kingsley doesn't go as planned.

Preacher James and his congregation head to the Langston house to stop the birth of Rachael's baby.

Emily helps Nolan's bride deal with her secrets; Victoria faces a mysterious new socialite.

Newschannel 20 at 10

Complete Schedule »

WICS Pay It Forward
Buzzed Driving Prevention PSA
WICS Cheers For The Years
Jimmy Kimmel
WICS Storm Team