(MT. VERNON, IL) — The Illinois Attorney General’s Office is investigating members of the Mt. Vernon City Council regarding alleged meetings the council made in secret regarding the Illinois American Water decision. WSIL-TV reports the investigation started after an individual submitted a complaint to Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office that Mayor Mary Jane Chesley and members of the Mt. Vernon City Council broke Illinois’ law against making decisions outside of public view, violating the Open Meetings Act. The concerns came to a head at the public meeting on March 2. A large crowd gathered for a pre-meeting rally and demonstrated their concerns during the meeting that evening. The complaint alleges that Mayor Chesley wrote to members of the city council four days prior asking to table the ordinance at the council meeting and that she was “encouraging silence on the fact that we will table the Ordinance. This is another opportunity to communicate with ‘concerned citizens.’ If they hear that no action will be taken, I feel many would not show.” The Illinois Open Meetings Act specifically forbids elected officials from taking votes in private. It will be up to the attorney general’s staff to determine whether that technically happened in this case. The actions between the city council and the reactions of the crowd at the meeting led to contention after the issue was tabled. The city e-mailed a press release on March 11 under Chesley’s name saying that it was abandoning the sale. The citizen’s complaint filed with the attorney general accuses Mayor Chesley, members of the city council and Neibert, the city manager, of wrongdoing.

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