“Folks, we blew it,” said the mayor.
Mayor Jerry Smith recalled his previous State of the City assertion that DeKalb must “acknowledge our shortcomings and our mistakes” last night, when he brought up DeKalb’s violation of the Open Meetings Act of last Friday. “We blew it” is what he told the staff members involved, he said.
Last Friday was Good Friday, a state-recognized holiday in Illinois. The Open Meetings Act prohibits special meetings on legal holidays, but nobody stopped the special meeting until it was almost finished.
The confessions weren’t perfect. Attorney Dean Frieders and interim city manager Patty Hoppenstedt behaved like graceless children. Frieders buried an almost-apology inside of a speech taking three-plus minutes, and he used the “royal we” instead of taking personal responsibility. Hoppenstedt said she took the matter “seriously and personally” but couldn’t resist a smirk.
Still, a public admission of wrongdoing was a breakthrough, as was the city’s complete do-over of the illegal meeting.
I commend the mayor for his handling of the affair.
Here’s video of the meeting, cued up to where the mayor begins his remarks.
Between the departure of a feckless city manager and now this, things are definitely looking up.