Key issue called unresolved in Atlanta Library Board accusations
A determination by the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Bureau in favor of the Atlanta Public Library District Board of Trustees has left a key question unanswered, according to the Edgar County Watchdogs (ECW): Do monthly payments to a board member to rent a property he owns represent a conflict of interest>?
The ECW's John Kraft review request to the office after an August meeting of the board during which it voted to accept the treasurer’s report of bills paid the previous month.
Kraft claimed that the board violated a section of the Open Meetings Act in that it did not sufficiently inform the public what it was voting on prior to the vote. Kraft submitted a link to a video recording of the board meeting to support his claim. Some board members appeared not to know or were unclear as to what exactly they were voting on when queried by Kraft.
Kraft also asserted that one board member has a direct conflict of interest in that he receives $1,000 per month from the Atlanta Public Library to lease a property he owns.
The board did not review the 11-page treasurer’s report or read any of it to the public during the meeting. By law, it did not need to, the Public Access Bureau determined.
The board also noted that copies of the Treasurer’s report were available to anyone who requested one during the Aug. 10 board meeting. Kraft claimed no copies were available at that time.
In responding to the attorney general’s request for information, the board said that in future it will post the trustee packet in its entirety on its website.
Responding to the $1,000 per month property lease payment, the board said: “[T]he specific item to which Mr. Kraft refers – the $1,000 in rent the Library pays for use of space in another building – is covered by a lease under which the Library has been making payments for nearly a year. Those payments are noted on the check register that is part of the Treasurer’s report and thus is attached to the minutes of every monthly meeting.”