The Mayor's Executive Orders Deny Due Process
Regardless of whether the new restrictions on gatherings and establishments are the right solution, there is a much bigger problem in how those actions were taken. The real issue is that the Chris Koos has deprived the community of due process. Citizens can now be issued a citation and a fine in which they were not given representation or a voice. This is not how our system of government is supposed to work. It is not how I would operate.
Leaders from ISU, the city, town, and county all met behind closed doors on Tuesday to craft the latest orders. That means there were several days in which a special meeting of the council could have been declared, even with giving the public 48-hours notice. The mayor could have followed established representational procedure and still had his restrictions by Friday afternoon. Better still, the result would have been a full ordinance and not the legally ambiguous entity of an executive order.
Illinois law requires the people’s business to be carried out in public (5 ILCS 120/1). Having to resort to closed door meetings and emergency powers displays ineffective leadership. It violates our principles of open government and demonstrates an inability to get the job done within the resources of a representative democracy. Normal deserves better.
The emergency powers that the mayor initiated back in March—actions that I vehemently disagreed with—were conceived for a duration that would be measured in hours, not months. They were designed to handle fast moving threats such as riots, not slower crises where there is sufficient time to convene the council. It is long past time to end the emergency declaration and restore our town to representative government in the way it is intended.