He began by saying that the first thing he wanted to say was not
even the reason he had come to the meeting. It had come to mind
while he was listening to the presentation by Snyder and O’Donohue.
He questioned, “How often it is that the council is addressed by a
group or association that is not the group or association in
question. Because we just heard from the Logan County Alliance
claiming they were the Chamber of Commerce speaking on behalf of
Tourism, but they were not Tourism, and they made that point three
When Michelle Bauer attempted to respond to the question, he cut her
off saying he was not taking questions from the council at that
He moved on saying he had come with concerns, the first of which
addressed the Facebook posts done by Mourning on Sunday, March 19th
(the same post Hoefle had referred to earlier in the evening). He
said that he had not at first seen the post, but that had gotten
reference to it through another alderman, Bauer. He said he was
questioning how many additional aldermen had seen the post. He
wondered if that fell under the Open Meetings restrictions that say
when three or more aldermen are engaged in a conversation, it
constitutes a meeting. He said he did not know the answer and was
asking for clarification.
This time, he permitted Bauer to respond to the concern. She said
that the Illinois Municipal League had addressed this at a workshop
for new aldermen. There, she had learned that there were
stipulations. If three or more aldermen were engaged in a “direct
stream” dialogue (similar to using posts like a chat, where they
exchange comments), then it was wrong. But to read a post, like it,
or even offer a comment on it was acceptable.
Rainforth moved on to his next point. He said that while he didn’t
see it happening on this night, in three years of attending council
meetings, he had witnessed emailing and texting going on during the
meetings. He reminded the council that doing so did fall under the
FOIA (Freedom of Information Act). He said, “For the new councilmen,
for the old council, please take that into consideration when you
are in these chambers that it is officially on record as to what is
going on. That is the law.”
[to top of second column]
He said finally, he wanted clarification about the position of the
Logan County Alliance legal team. He noted that city attorney Blinn
Bates had “indicated he helped co-council with a law firm in Chicago
to draw up the structural procedures going forward with the Logan
County Alliance.” Rainforth said this had been reported as a comment
from Bates in a local newspaper. Rainforth said that put the city
attorney in the “same camp” as the Alliance, and that it put the
council in a very precarious position if there was a problem with
the Alliance audit and a need to move forward with legal action.
Rainforth said that many people who came to his office had issued a concern
about this, and it was causing a problem for the community.
Rainforth began his conclusion saying that a third party audit was necessary,
and it was the only way public concern could be addressed in a non-biased way.
He added that should they find any impropriety on the LCA part regardless of how
small it might be, the council must address it.
It was noted by Bauer and City Administrator Clay Johnson that there are
occasions when the council votes to permit the city attorney to represent the
city and another party at the same time.
Rainforth said that there were times when that was perfectly acceptable, but he
was referring to an instance when there would be the need for a defense council,
and was cautioning them that Bates involvement with the LCA should preclude him
from any legal actions between the city and the LCA.
City of Lincoln: Vote to
request independent audits of Logan County Alliance and Tourism
Bureau passes 5-2