The Sauk Village Town Website

The Sauk Village Town Website

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Since: Oct 08

United States

#1 Dec 12, 2010
Back in November, I picked up a Sauk Talk and read, as well as listened to members of the Public Relations Committee boast of a "New and improved Sauk Village Website" and how the committee worked with technicians to make improvements and make the website more informative and user friendly. Changes and improvements were to be seen after December 1st.

Aso of this writing, 12 days later, not a single improvement has been made. Now it isn't exactly known to most what details there are to creating, publishing, and maintaining a website but I do know this - Updating the information that is already there can't be all too difficult. The pages and sections of the website are already in place, just horribly out of date.

Don't look for updated Board Meeting or Committee Meeting minutes there. The last published minutes for those meetings apparently stopped being published as of August of this year. I'm guessing by the posting of the FOIA contact at the bottom of the page is meant to suggest that if a resident of this community wants to read and is interested in Board or Committee minutes, then you need to file an FOIA request for those documents, unlike most other communities around Sauk Village which publish their minutes in PDF form on their sites on a regular basis.

Maybe it's because our Mayor doesn't want you to read them. The minutes that are posted and exist contain neat phrases like "Trustee Benson stated that he attended court on August 19, 2010 on behalf of Brunetta Hill-Corley in a case pending with Ed Shankel. The judge heard the allegations and interviewed the witnesses there. The judge was highly upset that the case even reached the court. The case was dismissed."

And then there's the other half of it where "Trustee Hanks stated that he did not understand why we (the Board) are discussing a court case between a former employee and a Village resident. We do
not discuss all cases brought before the Village and dismissed; it would be nice to have an update an all court case brought before the Village. Trustee Benson stated that this was brought on by a resident and it should be told."

And how about "Ed Shankel asked where is the $90,000.00 for Parks and Recreation from October. Mayor Towers stated that the Finance Director is working on it."

And that's just the Board Meeting minutes from August 24, 2010 ! There is similar recorded dialogue in other posted minutes to be found on the Sauk Village Website. Not to mention minutes that have never been published there.

Wonder what we're missing? Wonder what was said during that last Board meeing you happened to miss? Guess you'll have to file an FOIA request to find out what other communities regularly publish.
I Wonder

Belvidere, IL

#2 Dec 13, 2010
SVV, as informative as you usually are on most matters, I am surprised that you don't have the answer on this one. Firstly, you have to know most contractors working or providing services to the village are doing so on a volunteer basis, so the committee are at the technician's mercy. So would it make sense for the technician to update the old website and then redo the same work to update the new? i am sure the Public Relations committee is just as anxious to release their new website. I bet the village could make significant revenue if they could sell videos of the meetings being taped. To me that would be the best use of the village's money. No more hiding behind the printed word since a picture is worth a thousand of them.

Since: Oct 08

United States

#3 Dec 13, 2010
FANTASTIC IDEA I Wonder! With the popularity of Facebook (Which has a user created Sauk Village page and Youtube, anyone with an account (using an alias or otherwise) can create a Youtube account, post the videos there, and provide links to them. They can be uploaded to Youtube in multi-part files if necessary once they were put to an acceptable file format for Youtube.

Great idea once again I Wonder!

Since: Dec 10

Oak Forest, IL

#4 Dec 13, 2010
The board meeting minutes, like the agenda should still be posted. I am unsure if this is a requirement of the open meeting act. If so, we are not in compliance.

Everything else, I understand with regards to updating the site. If nothing more, then those with edit capabilities should pull outdated information and post a summary of the action items from meetings. Minutes need not be verbatim.
ActiveResident

Park Forest, IL

#5 Dec 14, 2010
Adamo wrote:
The board meeting minutes, like the agenda should still be posted. I am unsure if this is a requirement of the open meeting act. If so, we are not in compliance.
Yes, minutes and agendas are required by law to be posted, but the law only says (if I remember right) that they need to be displayed at the village hall. I know in Crete they have a message board with all agendas and minutes on it. I think it would be a long time before a law is passed requiring municipalities to post this stuff on the internet, because let's face it -- not all municipalities even HAVE websites and I don't think it's feasible to require them to.

Since: Oct 08

Country Club Hills, IL

#6 Dec 14, 2010
Yes, Active resident, but the difference is they DO have a website. And when you visit Crete's website, their minutes are posted and dated from the past year, and are 1 month behind. Their Committee agendas are also posted 1 year back, and are current as of yesterday.

This is how a town that has the best interests of its residents in mind works. Now I have been watching quite intently our town website over the past 2 weeks, to see if the "promises made" are "promises kept" so to speak. And guess what - since I made point of it here, they posted minutes from 9/14 and 9/28 as well as tonight's Village Board Meeting where they will argue over lawyers again, and open bids for a Village audit.

Should be a VERY interesting meeting. Since bills get paid tonight, let's see of Stuttley is working for free - Since Trustee Hanks said he would not approve appropriations of funds for Stuttley. Should be a very interesting meeting indeed.

To get back to point, they DO have the minutes, they CAN update and post them, they choose not to so people are not informed of what is actually going on in their own town. Many people are helping their kids with homework, or just finishing up dinner at 7:00 P.M. when the board meeting starts and can't make the meetings. At least people in Crete can go to their website and read theirs. Sauk Village residents deserve the same access to information as Crete residents, especially since the tools and resources already exist to post timely and updated information in the form of board minutes and committee agendas.

If they had no intent to make the changes they said they were, and the changes weren't staged for publishing to the website, then why bother to mention it during November's board meeting, and announce it in Sauk Talk?
My 2 cents

Villa Park, IL

#7 Dec 15, 2010
I used to do the work on the web site for the village. And was paid $100 per month at peak. I actually moved the site from a series of static pages to what you see now. Free of charge. Unfortunately the village doesn't understand the real costs involved with maintaining a web site.

How Much Should You Pay A Content Developer?

This depends so heavily on the type of content your site requires that it's almost impossible to answer. Freelance writer and editor rates range from a low of $25 an hour up to $250 an hour, or more. Most are in the $50 to $100 per hour range and they will never pay what is required for a well managed site.

Since: Oct 08

Country Club Hills, IL

#8 Dec 15, 2010
Good point My 2 Cents. But Sauk Village doesn't have a content rich, media rich content website. It's as basic as a Facebook page, that people regularly update and post information and pictures to in todays technology driven society.

What could be surmised is this. Trustee Benson has website knowledge and expierience, as he published the Sauk Village Seminoles website through the ETEAMZ web portal. So I'm guessing that Trustee Benson would volunteer or for minimal compensation to his Trustee stipend, update our town website so the good people of Sauk Village had access to that information.

But we know what's happening there. Do we think Benson or Towers wants the public to know what's going on in our Board Meetings? How their behavior, arguing, and own agendas overtake the handling of Village Business? And how about reading how Trustee Benson took upon himself to appear in court on behalf of Brunetta Hill-Corley and then discuss it at a Board meeting "Cause it needed to be told".

And we all saw how fast the Mayor imposed "Blacklisting" of Ace Hardware was reversed once the truth was made known right here in our own little Topix forum. Nevermind the shameful public display of imposing a blacklist against a business in your own town, but once the actual reason for the blacklisting was made known, we all see how the Mayor was fast to "amicably" settle the issue.

Public Works Director Kevin Weller said it best, when asked by a news reporter how the recent layoffs in Public Works will affect the town. Weller stated "I have no comment because last time I spoke to the media, my job was threatened".

I think it's clear to see that no matter how badly the Public Relations Committee wants to update the website with updated Board Meeting minutes, they will NEVER be published, so that the citizens of Sauk Village that DESERVE and HAVE A RIGHT to that information being published in a timely manner and in its entirety on its own town website, will only have access to that information through FOIA.

What do I suggest? That the Village Clerk's Office be flooded with FOIA requests for ALL Village Board Meeting minutes from the start of the year to current, Committee meeting minutes, and that any resident of Sauk Village simply hand deliver the request, noting the date and time the request was dropped off at the Village Hall.

http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/Press/inf...

Since: Oct 08

Country Club Hills, IL

#9 Dec 15, 2010
Requests should look like this:

December 15, 2010


FOIA RECORDS REQUEST



Dear FOIA Records Request Officer:


Pursuant to the state open records act, I request access to and copies of Sauk Village Board Meeting Minutes, from (Start Date Desired) to (End Date Desired) and also Committee meeting minutes for that same time frame.

I agree to pay reasonable duplication fees for the processing of this request.

If my request is denied in whole or part, I ask that you justify all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the act.



Thank you for your assistance.



Sincerely,
I Wonder

Valparaiso, IN

#10 Dec 15, 2010
Sauk Village Voice, didn't they layoff the Foia clerk and didn't the village clerk relinguish the duties after Emit and hizzoner censored her from speaking???

Since: Dec 10

Oak Forest, IL

#11 Dec 15, 2010
This is so bizarre.
you know who

Park Forest, IL

#12 Dec 16, 2010
not sure
but it still, by law has to be done in 5 days

I think it is the IT guy that is the hold up for the most part
not the clerk. she passes out the minutes as soon as they are typed and ready for approval. and new pictures and bios were turned in to the guy.

Crete Township refuses to post them on their website, Monee also refuses.
this just shows it is the ones who are trying to hide things.
even tho they are posted at the halls.
I believe by law, they are supposed to be at the hall and one other place. usually the library. I know crete township has it at both but don't think Monee has a library.

park forest posts a copy of the dvd of the minutes but nothing in writing.
I Wonder wrote:
Sauk Village Voice, didn't they layoff the Foia clerk and didn't the village clerk relinguish the duties after Emit and hizzoner censored her from speaking???

Since: May 10

Villa Park, IL

#13 Dec 16, 2010
I don't know why the agreement with Comcast to allow for public access is not leveraged by the village and broadcast the weekly meetings. They could then be archived and links provided on the web site.

Since: Oct 08

Country Club Hills, IL

#14 Dec 16, 2010
New FOIA compliance laws require Municipalities to appoint a FOIA officer or offical, to handle all FOIA requests, responses, denials, and appeals to denials. The FOIA request must be acknowledged and fullfilled under law as long as it meets the criteria of non-exempt records or exempt information. This was implemented in the earliest days of the Obama Administration initiative of Open Government.

In short, you see many Municipalities announcing their respective departments FOIA officals. In most communities, these people are Village Clerks, and certain Trustees, Village Managers, and Police Chiefs. In either case, every Municipality must designate an FOIA official, and provide them the training so that documents and data that should not be disseminated is not disseminated. They are also tasked with generalizing datasets to provide statistical reporting information, such as certain criminal activity or occurrences.

If you have further interests in the new FOIA requirements, see http://www.ancelglink.com/publications/FOIAOv...

Since: Dec 10

Oak Forest, IL

#15 Dec 22, 2010
Past Practices of how an entity deals with the Open Meeting Act has to play a crucial role when determining if minutes of the Committe Meetings and the Board Meetings should be posted on the web-site. They, along with agendas for each were posted in the past, thus they should continue to be so, unless decided by committee action that it will no longer be. Did this occur?

Though not a champion for either side of the divided fence, I am a firm believer that the people, including me, should have total access to all information concerning the Village and should not have to go to Village Hall to read major determining facts and actions of the happenings of the Village nor should we have to seek out social media and topix to learn what happened at a recent meeting.

In this instance, it incuberant on the Mayor to direct the Village Clerk to post minutes in a timely manner, just as she post agendas on the Village web-site.
Even if he fails to provide the directive, the Village Clerk should still fulfill this task Especially if she is for the Village and not simply trying to make the Mayor look bad. If she has access to post agendas, She has access to post minutes. Let it be DONE!!! I'd appreciate knowing what's happening in spite of not being able to attend a meeting.

Come on Vilage Clerk, go back to posting the minutes as you did previously. I know I'd appreciate it. I'm sure others will also.

you know who

Park Forest, IL

#16 Dec 23, 2010
I dont think that she is NOT posting them on purpose. If she could post them I am sure she would along with all the new photos and other info that should be on there.

either the IT guy is not doing it or the Mayor doesnt want it done.
Adamo wrote:
Past Practices of how an entity deals with the Open Meeting Act has to play a crucial role when determining if minutes of the Committe Meetings and the Board Meetings should be posted on the web-site. They, along with agendas for each were posted in the past, thus they should continue to be so, unless decided by committee action that it will no longer be. Did this occur?
Though not a champion for either side of the divided fence, I am a firm believer that the people, including me, should have total access to all information concerning the Village and should not have to go to Village Hall to read major determining facts and actions of the happenings of the Village nor should we have to seek out social media and topix to learn what happened at a recent meeting.
In this instance, it incuberant on the Mayor to direct the Village Clerk to post minutes in a timely manner, just as she post agendas on the Village web-site.
Even if he fails to provide the directive, the Village Clerk should still fulfill this task Especially if she is for the Village and not simply trying to make the Mayor look bad. If she has access to post agendas, She has access to post minutes. Let it be DONE!!! I'd appreciate knowing what's happening in spite of not being able to attend a meeting.
Come on Vilage Clerk, go back to posting the minutes as you did previously. I know I'd appreciate it. I'm sure others will also.

Since: Oct 08

Chicago, IL

#17 Dec 23, 2010
Nicely said Adamo !!

Since: Oct 08

Chicago, IL

#18 Feb 3, 2011
What a pleasant suprise to see the newly unveiled Sauk Village website. And I must admit, I am impressed by its layout and functionality. Clean, professional, and easily navigated, the residents of Sauk Village now will find community information and notices with greater ease and overall gives the town website a more professional unified look.

To all who worked on the new website - THANK YOU!!!
village clerk

Oak Forest, IL

#19 Feb 3, 2011
Thank you Sauk Village Voice. It has been a while in coming but I think the end result was worth the wait. There are still some kinks to be worked out but I am sure Gerald, the site creator, will have everything fully functional soon. He did a great job! There is plenty of room on the new site for residents to share upcoming events and history. Feel free to submit any information to Trustee Williams at [email protected] for consideration.

Since: Dec 10

Oak Forest, IL

#20 Feb 3, 2011
The site is very crisp. I like it!

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