By Lisa Rodgers
Reporter
ILLINOIS- “…to ensure that the actions of public bodies are taken openly and that their deliberations are conducted openly,” page one of the 2016 OMA training. (5 ILCS 120/) Open Meetings Act is also referred to as OMA.
The following contains only a portion of the information provided by the 2016 OMA online training found at the Public Access Counselor (PAC) website http://foia.ilattorneygeneral.net/Training.aspx.
It is the intent of this article to provide a few examples of the educational information available. The OMA training covers many requirements.The PAC encourages the public to take the FREE online training provided to become educated in ensuring transparency in all public bodies in the State of Illinois.
“What is a Public Body?
OMA applies to all ‘public bodies’ as defined in the Act. The definition of ‘public body includes:
all legislative, executive, administrative or advisory bodies of the State, counties, townships, cities, villages, incorporated towns, school districts and all other municipal corporations, boards, bureaus, committees or commissions of this State, and any subsidiary bodies of any of the foregoing, including, but not limited to, committees and subcommittees which are supported in whole or in part by tax revenue, or which expend tax revenue, except the General Assembly and committees or commissions thereof, according to 5 ILCS 120/1.02.
OMA covers subgroups of public bodies, such as committees, subcommittees, or advisory bodies, even if that subgroup does not itself spend or use public funds.
OMA generally does not apply to private, not-for-profit corporations, even if such corporations administer programs funded primarily by governmental agencies and are required to comply with government regulations, as long as the board of directors and employees of such corporations are free from direct governmental control,” page 5 of the 2016 OMA training states.
“The purpose of the Open Meetings Act (OMA) is to ensure that the actions of public bodies are taken openly and that their deliberations are conducted openly. To further this policy, the General Assembly has instituted the following training requirements.
OMA Designees – Annual Training Required
The Open Meetings Act requires every public body to designate employees, officers, or members to receive training on compliance with OMA, according to 5 ILCS 120/1.05(a).
Each OMA designee must successfully complete the electronic training curriculum developed and administered by the Public Access Counselor (PAC) within 30 days after his or her designation, and thereafter must successfully complete an annual training program.
Members of Public Bodies – One-time Training Requirement
OMA requires that each elected or appointed member of a public body subject to OMA must successfully complete the electronic training curriculum developed and administered by the PAC, and file a copy of the certificate of completion with the public body, 5 ILCS 120/1.05(b) states.
New members of a public body subject to OMA must complete the training no later than the 90th day after taking the oath of office or otherwise assuming responsibilities as a member of the governmental body.
If you are a member of a committee or subcommittee of a public body, or a member of more than one public body, taking the training once fulfills the requirement for each position you hold.
A member is only required to complete this training one time during his or her term of office, not annually, unless that member is also an OMA designee, in which case annual training is required. The OMA electronic training curriculum is updated each year, therefore public body members may wish to periodically review the training to stay abreast of the law.
Taking the OMA electronic training is a requirement imposed by law. Therefore, any member of a public body who should have completed the training by now but has failed to do so for any reason should complete the OMA training as soon as possible,” page one of the 2016 OMA training states.
The Public Access Counselor (PAC) is a FREE service. Anyone may call (877) 299-3642 during normal business hours and ask questions directly to a Public Access Counselor in regards to OMA and FOIA.
The online public or government training of OMA and FOIA is also FREE. The PAC website also offers binding PAC opinions of Request for Reviews of OMA and FOIA.
The Public Access Counselor Office is willing to answer questions and provide accurate information to the people of Illinois.
For more information visit Public Access Counselor http://foia.ilattorneygeneral.net/Default.aspx.
The public can contact Public Access Counselor:
Office of the Attorney General
500 S. 2nd Street
Springfield, IL 62706
Public access can also be reached by email: publicaccess@atg.state.il.us; phone: (877) 299-FOIA (3642); or fax: (217) 782-1396.

 
 
 
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