Illinois Human Rights Commission addresses budget shortages
The Illinois Human Rights Commission met Nov. 16 to address budget shortages.
Here are the meeting's minutes, as provided by the commission:
The Commission adjudicates charges of civil rights violations in employment, housing, public accommodations and financial credit filed with Department of Human Rights.
STATE OF ILLINOIS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
Meeting of the Commission November 16, 2016 10:30 a.m.
James R. Thompson Center DHS - Murdock Room Suite 5-300 100 West Randolph Street Chicago, Illinois
Lincoln Land Training Center 130 W. Mason Street Room 104 Springfield, Illinois
In Chicago Chair Rose Mary Bombela-Tobias Duke Alden Michael Bigger Terry Cosgrove Nabi Fakroddin Amy Kurson Lauren Beth Gash Hermene Hartman Steve Kim Diane M. Viverito Patricia Bakalis Yadgir
In Springfield None
Absent Robert A. Cantone
Staff Rhandi C. Anderson
LaNade Bridges Michael Evans Dr. Ewa I. Ewa Donyelle L. Gray Bricia Herrera Byron M. Wardlaw
Members of Public: None
Public and closed meetings of the Illinois Human Rights Commission are audio recorded.
I. Call to Order
On November 16, 2016 at 10:35 a.m., Chair Rose Mary Bombela-Tobias called to order a meeting of the Illinois Human Rights Commission.
Pursuant to the Illinois Open Meetings Act, 5 ILCS 120/1 et seq., it was determined that:
1) A quorum of the public body was physically present at the meeting.
II. Consideration of Minutes
October 26, 2016
The Commission voted to approve the minutes of the October 26, 2016, meeting as submitted by staff. Motion to approve the October 26, 2016, minutes as submitted by staff made by Commissioner Gash and seconded by Commissioner Alden. Motion carried 11-0.
III. Chair’s Report
Rose Mary Bombela-Tobias, Chair
Chair Bombela-Tobias reported that former HRC Chairman Manuel Barbosa’s book, The Littlest Wetback, was delivered for those who ordered it.
The Chair reported that she met with representatives from the Department of Human Rights seeking more cooperation between the agencies. The Chair reported that these meetings could take place monthly. A follow up meeting has been scheduled for January.
Chair Bombela-Tobias reported that outreach efforts are being explored in Peoria, Illinois. Immigration reform may create a possible upsurge in complaints. The Chair reported that training for community groups has been discussed.
Chair Bombela-Tobias reported that next week she and Executive Director Keith Chambers will be attending the Latino Caucus.
IV. Staff Reports
A. N. Keith Chambers, Executive Director
Mr. Chambers was working in Springfield and not present to provide a report.
B. Dr. Ewa I. Ewa, Chief Fiscal Officer
Dr. Ewa reported that the Governor authorized merit bonuses for nonunion employees for FY16 and FY17.
Dr. Ewa reported that the Commission is running out of money for FY16 and FY17. He is currently holding on to the money the Commission has until the end of the year.
Dr. Ewa reported that a decision with regard to the Union has been made. Details will be reported at a later date.
C. Michael J. Evans, Chief Administrative Law Judge
Chief Judge Evans gave his report for the month of October 2016 and reported no significant changes from the prior month
D. Donyelle Gray, General Counsel
Ms. Gray reminded Commissioners that 2016 Ethics Training must be completed and the Acknowledgement form submitted by November 11th.
Ms. Gray announced that she attended the National Bar Association Labor and Employment Section Annual Conference as a panelist where she addressed the topic: “Same-Sex Marriage, Religion and the Workplace: Accommodating Constitutionally Protected (and Potentially Competing) Rights.” Ms. Gray distributed her portions of the presentation, including an analysis of state laws regarding sexual orientation and gender-related identity protection.
Ms. Gray announced that she will be a panelist at the upcoming 32nd Annual Illinois Public Sector Relations Law Conference (Chicago), addressing the topic: “LGBT Rights: Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation in the Workplace.”
Ms. Gray reported that Assistant GC Byron Wardlaw will be attending the 20th Annual Meet the Public Service Organizations Reception, sponsored by the Chicago Area Law School Consortium. This is one of the events OGC staff attends to inform law students about the Commission’s Coles Fellowship Program. Ms. Gray invited Commissioners to share the Fellowship flyer with law students who may be interested in applying. The spring 2017 term starts in January 2017. The Commission has the capacity for 3-4 students per term.
Ms. Gray reported that the Illinois Appellate Court upheld the Commission’s decision in Sheryl Lynn v. Novak & Sokol Chiapas Coffee Co. A copy of the decision was distributed to Commissioners.
Ms. Gray gave a report of the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) caseload for FY17. Ms. Gray reported that request for review numbers remain high.
Finally, Ms. Gray distributed employment law updates for November 2016.
V. New Business
The Commissioners discussed plans for the upcoming holiday party. The party is scheduled for December 14th immediately following the scheduled en banc meeting. January En Banc Meeting
Chair Bombela-Tobias announced that she is unable to attend the January en banc meeting. Commissioner Nabi, in his capacity as Vice Chair of the Commission, will lead the meeting in her stead.
VI. Old Business
VII. Public Comment
VIII. Executive Session
The meeting was adjourned at 11:13 a.m. Motion made by Commissioner Nabi, seconded by Commissioner Alden. Motion carried 11-0.
Donyelle L. Gray General Counsel