Dixon says recording the meetings legal
Board chief wanted prosecution of resident
DIXON – Lee County State’s Attorney Henry Dixon says people are allowed to record public meetings.
Last month, County Board Chairman Jim Seeberg, R-Ashton, announced at a board meeting that he requested a felony prosecution of a resident for recording a meeting of the board’s Executive Committee, which is open to the public.
He said he referred the matter to the state’s attorney’s office.
Dixon has declined to comment to Sauk Valley Media on the issue. He told the County Board’s Finance Committee last week, however, that taping meetings was legal under the Open Meetings Act, according to the meeting minutes.
He also said the county needs to establish procedures for meetings, including the recording of them.
In calling for a prosecution, Seeberg said people must get the consent of everyone present before recording a meeting, which is what the state’s eavesdropping law requires.
Two County Board members, Rick Ketchum, D-Amboy, and Judy Truckenbrod, R-West Brooklyn, have said the law allows people to record meetings, but they suggested people notify others beforehand as a courtesy.
The Citizen Advocacy Center, an Elmhurst-based watchdog group, agreed the public has the right to record.
Anna Sacco-Miller, a Republican facing Dixon in the state’s attorney’s race in November, said recently that she wouldn’t prosecute people for recording public meetings governed by the state Open Meetings Act.
She, too, said it would be courteous if people told others beforehand that they were recording.
John Kelley, the Franklin Grove resident who recorded the recent meeting, said he had the right to do so.
He posted the audio of last month’s Executive Committee meeting on YouTube.