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11/20/87 Argo High School Council v. Argo Community High School

November 20, 1987

ARGO HIGH SCHOOL COUNCIL OF LOCAL 571, IFT, AFT, AFL-CIO, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS

v.

ARGO COMMUNITY HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT 217, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIFTH DIVISION

516 N.E.2d 834, 163 Ill. App. 3d 578, 114 Ill. Dec. 679 1987.IL.1727

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Thomas J. O'Brien, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE MURRAY delivered the opinion of the court. SULLIVAN, P.J., and PINCHAM, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MURRAY

Plaintiffs, Argo High School Council of Local 571, IFT, AFT, AFL-CIO, Helen Pluta, and Wendy Thompson (the union), appeal from an order of the circuit court of Cook County dismissing their amended complaint pursuant to section 2-615 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110, par. 2-615) in which they sought relief under the Open Meetings Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 102, par. 41 et seq.) against defendant, Argo Community High School District 217 (the district). For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

On October 21, 1985, the district rescheduled its regular board meeting day of November 11 for November 12 and, at the same time, scheduled a special meeting for November 11; November 11 fell on Veterans Day and was a legal holiday. On November 5, a school board election was held and two incumbent board members were defeated for reelection, thereby changing the previous majority on the seven-member board enjoyed by the district superintendent. On November 7, the secretary of the "lame duck" board (the predecessor of the November 5 board) posted and published notice of the special meeting to be held on November 11. The stated agenda for the special meeting was "[review] and Discussion of salaries involving administrators, supervisors and other personnel not covered by agreements." At the meeting, the "lame duck" board adopted certain motions providing the following: (1) extension of the superintendent's contract for one year through the 1986-87 school year; (2) a change in the appointment of department chairpersons from a permanent basis to a three-year rotational basis; and (3) the posting and receiving of applications for the position of athletic director for the 1986-87 school year.

On December 26, the union filed a complaint contending that the November 11 special meeting violated the Open Meetings Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 102, par. 41 et seq.). Its complaint sought a declaratory judgment voiding the actions taken at the special meeting. After the trial court struck the original complaint on the district's motion, the union filed an amended complaint on June 6, 1986. The amended complaint was stricken on August 6, and this appeal followed.

The union contends on appeal that the special meeting was in violation of the Open Meetings Act (the Act) because (1) it was held on a legal holiday in violation of section 2.01 and (2) the meeting's agenda violated section 2.02 of the Act requiring the agenda to be listed. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 102, pars. 42.01, 42.02.

We first address the union's claim that the special meeting violated section 2.01 of the Act. Section 2.01 provides:

"All meetings required by this Act to be public shall be held at specified times and places which are convenient to the public. No meeting required by this Act to be public shall be held on a legal holiday unless the regular meeting day falls on that holiday." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 102, par. 42.01.)

The trial court concluded that the second sentence of the above provision permitted two interpretations. One interpretation was that no meeting can be held on the legal holiday unless the meeting is a "regular" meeting falling on the holiday. The second interpretation was that no meeting (regular, special, rescheduled or reconvened meeting) could be held on a holiday unless the legal holiday was the same day as the regular meeting day and the regular meeting was not held on that day. The trial court relied on the second interpretation, reasoning that the legislature could have, if it wanted to preclude a special or other meeting from being held on a legal holiday, used language specifically indicating that intent. More particularly, the court stated as follows:

"special meeting cannot be held on a legal holiday unless that legal holiday is a day where a regular meeting day ordinarily occurs, even though the regular meeting may not be held on that day.

Now, why do I say that? I say that because the legislature would not have had to use the word day. They could have simply said unless the regular meeting falls on that ...


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