Rules for Public Comment, Policy on Meeting via Electronic Means, P.A. 97-609 Compliance
Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) Board and Committee Meetings
Meeting dates, agendas, and minutes for the RAILS Board of Directors and its subsidiary bodies are available in the Board section of our website.
Public Participation at Library System Board Meetings and Petitions to the Board
At each regular and special open meeting, the members of the public and System employees may comment on or ask questions of the Board, subject to reasonable constraints. The individuals appearing before the Board are expected to follow these guidelines:
- Address the Board only at the appropriate times as indicated on the agenda and when recognized by the Board President.
- Identify oneself by full name and address, and be brief. Ordinarily, such comments shall be limited to 5 minutes. In unusual circumstances, and when the person has given advance notice of the need to speak for a longer period of time, such person may be allowed to speak for more than 5 minutes.
- The Board President may shorten or lengthen a person's opportunity to speak. The President may also deny the opportunity to speak to a person who has previously addressed the Board on the same subject within the past 2 months.
- No more than 20 minutes shall be allowed to each subject under discussion, except with unanimous consent of the Board.
- The Board President shall have the authority to determine procedural matters regarding public participation not otherwise defined in Board policy.
Petitions or written correspondence to the Board shall be presented to the Board at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting.
Approved July 1, 2011
Policy on Meeting via Electronic Means
Approved by RAILS Board July 1, 2011
Resolution Regarding Meetings and Conferencing via Electronic Means
Whereas, the Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) Board believes it is in the best interest of its members, Systems, and patrons that the fullest participation and attendance in all meetings be achieved whenever possible; and
Whereas, the use of electronic conferencing for meeting attendance and voting requirements, at least in some governmental meetings, is permissible so long as the meeting is conducted in accordance with the Open Meetings Act; and
Whereas, the Open Meetings Act has been amended to allow attendance at public body meetings through audio conference, video conference, or by any other electronic conferencing without physical attendance; and
Whereas, the Open Meetings Act has been amended to allow library systems with jurisdiction over specific geographic area of more than 4,500 square miles [5 ILCS 120/7(d)], such as the parties here, to permit members to attend meetings by other means than physical presence so long as they adopt specific procedural rules therefore; and
Whereas, the RAILS Board in all of its regular, special, and committee meetings complies and intends to comply with the provisions of the Open Meetings Act.
Now, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the RAILS Board, having considered the aforesaid matters hereby adopts this policy, to be used when needed, to make use of the capabilities for conferencing by electronic means or any other type of conferencing for its meetings or any of the RAILS Board's subcommittee meetings as more specifically set out in this Resolution, and to adopt, establish, and set forth these Rules of the RAILS Board applicable thereto:
- All pertinent provisions of the Open Meetings Act must be complied with, including specifically the proper notice of any regular or special meeting, the proper record keeping or minutes of each meeting, the appropriate agenda preparation for each meeting, which in addition shall be posted along with the notice of the meeting; and, in particular, any use of closed sessions shall be in compliance with the provisions of the Act.
- That sufficient security and identification procedures be employed, either at the outset of any meeting or at any time during the meeting as appropriate, to ensure that any and all members attending for discussion or voting purposes are in fact authorized members with the right to speak and vote.
- Pursuant to the Open Meetings Act, the requirement in 5 ILCS 120/7(a) that a quorum of members of the Board MUST be physically present at the location of the meeting shall NOT apply because 5 ILCS 120/7(d) of the Act specifically excepts library systems of the specified size from such requirements, and authorizes them to permit attendance by other means in accordance with procedural rules such as those contained herein. Specifically, RAILS Board members or, in the case of RAILS Board subcommittee members may attend by video and/or audio conferencing or by other electronic means for quorum and voting purposes in accordance with these provisions.
- All RAILS Board members or subcommittee members attending meetings by electronic conferencing shall be entitled to vote as if they were personally and physically present at the meeting site so long as a quorum is, in total, present and accounted for, but their votes shall be recorded by the Secretary as done by electronic attendance.
- A Board member or subcommittee member who attends a meeting by video or audio conference must provide notice to the recording secretary at least 24 hours prior to the meeting unless such advance notice is impracticable.
- A member may attend an RAILS Board meeting or subcommittee meeting through electronic conferencing if, in the opinion of the member, his or her physical presence at the meeting is unable to be obtained or is inconvenient for any reason including, but not limited to reasons such as personal schedule or time conflicts, length of required travel time, the high cost of such travel, or vehicle, fuel or time involved.
- As soon as it becomes apparent to the secretary that a meeting will include electronic conferencing, all subsequent notices of the meeting shall indicate that one or more members will or may be attending by electronic means. In the event that the notice of the meeting has already been disseminated and posted, a follow-up notice indicating the above shall be placed as soon as possible. In the event any news media have filed the annual request for notice of meetings, they shall receive an updated notice in the same manner as given to all members of the RAILS Board.
- The meeting minutes shall include, but need not be limited to; i) the date, time and place of the meeting; ii) the members who were either present or absent from the meeting and whether those members in attendance were physically present or present by audio conference, video conference or by other electronic means; and iii) a summary of discussion on all matters proposed, deliberated, or decided, and iv) a record of any votes taken.
- The location of the meeting included on the notice shall be equipped with a suitable transmission system (e.g. a speakerphone) in order that the public audience, the members in attendance and any staff in attendance will be able to hear any input, vote or discussion of the conference and that the member attending by electronic means shall have a similar capability of hearing and participating in such input, vote or discussion.
- As the RAILS Board begins each new matter of business, the chair will check with all remote location(s) with RAILS Board member(s) present to ensure that each such connection is active and not muted.
- When a motion is made, and seconded, and discussion regarding the motion begins, the chair will check that the connection with remote location(s) with RAILS Board member(s) is active and not muted. Prior to closing discussion and taking any vote, the chair will ask all remote location(s) with RAILS Board member(s) present whether there are any additional comments, questions, or information to be added to the discussion.
- All decisions will be made using majority rule except when a higher vote is required. There will be no muting of any connections with remote location(s) with RAILS Board member(s) at any time. There will be no sidebar discussions.
- No later than 48 hours before a scheduled meeting of the RAILS Board or any of its subcommittees, each system will advise the Open Meetings Act designee regarding all of the documents that have been posted for any such meeting, and any and all locations where the documents have been posted.
- The procedures outlined above shall also apply to each RAILS Board subcommittee and each subcommittee member.
Originally Approved by the Merger Transition Board on April 6, 2011
RAILS Board Approved July 1, 2011
Public Act 97-609 Compliance
To access this information, please visit our administrative headquarters located at 125 Tower Drive, Burr Ridge, IL 60527 and contact Emily Fister, Executive Assistant.