This section provides information about County Government Meetings and Agendas, Elected Officials and Administrative Officials, Elections and Lobbying/Advocacy.
Open meeting laws are essential to the maintenance of a transparent government in which public business will be performed in an open and public manner. Citizens who are fully aware of and free to observe the performance of public officials and listen to the deliberations are in a much better position to ensure that their government is operating in an honest, cost effective and prudent manner.
Meetings are one of the few ways the public can engage in true dialogue with representatives. Given the reality of busy schedules, governments should offer an alternative to meeting attendance by posting meetings, agendas, locations and minutes on their website.
Time of meetings
Place of meeting
Agendas for all meetings that fall under rules about open meetings
Whether the meeting is open or closed
Whether public input is allowed at the meeting and, if so, what the rules that govern public input
Minutes of meetings should be recorded and posted online
For County Board Meetings, the Clerk of the Board records the activity of the Cook County Board of Commissioners by preparing bi-weekly agendas and post-meeting reports and maintaining county board records
For all Board Legislative Committee Meetings, the Secretary of the Board:
prepares the regularly scheduled Finance, Roads & Bridges, and Zoning & Building meetings notices, agendas and reports;
holds the communication and backup records of all items referred to the Board's legislative committees and subcommittees;
prepares the public meeting notices and write the Committee Reports for all meetings called by the respective Chairman;
coordinates public hearings on various issues as well as the annual budget meetings;
County Board Proceedings
(Secretary of the Board)
A government official or functionary is an official who is involved in public administration or government, through either election, appointment, or employment. Websites sponsored by the government should include information about who serves on the governing board and in administrative capacities.
The governing board could be a county commission or other board that has the power and authority to set policy and taxes for a particular political jurisdiction. Officials are elected to represent their constituents. In order to do so effectively they should be engaged in regular dialogue and be as accessible as possibly by providing a variety of ways to be contacted.
Administrative staff are knowledgeable resources, provide constituent services and often enforce ordinances. Because of these roles it is imperative for them to be available to constituents by providing contact information to the heads of each department and not just general information
For all County Elected Officials, the website should provide:
Contact information, including phone number and e-mail addresses
Terms of office and date of next election
If elected in partisan elections, party affiliation
The Government > County Leadership section of this website provides information on all elected officials in the County.
(Cook County Government)
Any financial disclosures and conflict-of-interest statements that the County requires of its elected officials should be posted online.
For the County's Administrative Officials, the website should provide:
Their names and titles
Contact information, including phone numbers and e-mail addresses
The Agencies section of this site provides a link to the site for that Agency. A Contact Information box within each Agency site provides the administrative official for the Agency and available contact information.
If the County belongs to any taxpayer-funded lobbying associations that it helps to fund by paying association or membership dues, that information should be disclosed on the government unit's website.
Almost all government entities have lobbyists on retainer or are members of an association that lobbys on their behalf. This information should be disclosed to constituents, so they can make sure what is being lobbied benefits the community.
If the county enters into a contract with a lobbyist or lobbying firm, full details of this arrangement must be posted on the county's website, including the name of the lobbyist or lobbying firm, the amount paid to the lobbyist or firm, and the legislation that the lobbyist is advocating for on the taxpayer's dime.
If the county pays dues to belong to any lobbying associations, full details of these arrangements should be included on the county's website, including the name of the association, the amount paid in dues, and an identification of what positions that lobbying association is taking with the money it has received from the county's taxpayers via the dues paid to it by the county.
If the county gives grants to non-profit organizations, these grants should be disclosed on the county's website with a reason for the grant and information about who in the non-profit organization is responsible for oversight and administration of the funds it has received from the county's taxpayers via a grant from the county.