Addressing the Council

The Town of Normal is interested in hearing concerns and suggestions from our residents and businesses. Resident input on community issues is truly valued and appreciated. Individuals may address members of the Town Council at official meetings, public hearings or at any other time via telephone, email or written communication. Below are the appropriate steps that must be taken by individuals who want to address the elected officials.

Illinois Open Meetings Act

The Illinois Open Meetings Act sets forth the rules and regulations for public meetings of governmental bodies across the state of Illinois. The policy behind this act is that “…the people have a right to be informed as to the conduct of...” local and state government. Open deliberation and action are cornerstones of the Open Meetings Act requirements, along with good faith efforts to ensure convenient access to meetings for all members of the public.

The Illinois Open Meetings Act prohibits more than two Normal Town Council members to convene for the purposes of discussing or acting on government related business without appropriate public notice, access and record keeping. However, the law does allow for specific exemptions. In those instances, the Council will hold an Executive Session.

Town Council Meetings

The regular meetings of the Normal Town Council are held on the first and third Mondays of each month at 7:00 pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall. Any regular meeting that falls on a Town holiday is held at the same time and place on the next day that is not a holiday. The purpose of the meeting is to take action on various issues pertaining to the Town of Normal.

Public comment is permitted at Town Council Meetings, assuming the following guidelines have been appropriately followed:

  1. Individuals wishing to speak at a Town Council Meeting shall provide the City Manager’s office two hours advance notice of intent to speak
  2. The topics to be discussed must be germane to the meeting agenda of the Town Council meeting
  3. The public comment period for any single meeting shall not exceed ten minutes
  4. No individual shall speak for more than two minutes at a single meeting
  5. No individual representing a group shall speak for more than five minutes at a single meeting
  6. The Mayor shall determine the order of speakers
  7. Individuals shall be limited to addressing the Town Council no more than one time in a forty-five day period
The Mayor may suspend any of the above rules in order to provide more public comment, as deemed appropriate.

After being asked to step forward to the microphone, individuals should clearly state their name, address and whether or not they represent an organization. All comments should be addressed to the Town Council as a whole and not to individual members. Individuals should make a concise statement of opinions and should not attempt to establish dialogue with the elected officials. Such dialogue is appropriately held outside of the Town Council Meeting forum.

Public Hearings

The purpose of a Public Hearing is to seek formal input as required by Ordinance or Statute or as deemed appropriate by the Mayor.

The Mayor will call the public hearing to order and announce the topic. During the Public Hearing, the Mayor will ask if members of the audience wish to address the Normal Town Council regarding the issue under consideration. After being asked to step forward to the microphone, individuals should clearly state their name, address and whether or not they represent an organization. The same time limits that apply to Town Council Meetings apply to Public Hearings. The Mayor reserves the right to suspend these rules in order to provide more public comment, as deemed appropriate.

When neither the applicant, opponents or Staff have further evidence to produce, or when in the opinion of Council present, sufficient evidence has been presented, the Presiding Officer shall order the public hearing closed.

Work Sessions

On occasion, the Normal Town Council will hold a special work session to discuss significant projects, legislation or community issues. No formal action is taken in a work session; however, if a member of the public wishes to speak he or she should follow the same procedures outlined under the Town Council Meetings section.

Executive Sessions

Executive Sessions are closed meetings that allow the Town Council to discuss certain matters of sensitive nature. The Illinois Open Meetings Act specifies the type of topics that may be discussed in these sessions. Some examples include personnel matters, land acquisitions, collective bargaining and pending litigation. After the Town Council has determined that it is no longer necessary to protect the public interest or the privacy of an individual, minutes of closed meetings are made available to the public.

Order and Decorum at Meetings of the Town Council

The Mayor has the right to create and enforce reasonable rules to preserve the order and decorum of public meetings. This includes, but is not limited to, prohibitions of applause, cheering, booing, shouting, use of profanity, wearing of caps, and the use or display of signs or banners. Persons who violate these rules or otherwise disrupt order or decorum may be removed.

Addressing the Town Council Outside of Public Meetings

The public is encouraged to communicate their questions, concerns and suggestions to the Town Council at any time that may be convenient. Telephone and email contact information for the Mayor and Council is available here. Residents may also communicate in writing by sending a letter to the Office of the City Manager. Upon request, such communication will be copied and distributed to each elected official.

State of Illinois Freedom of Information Act

The Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows the public access to records maintained by local government with certain limitations. The Town Council has designated the Town Clerk as the Freedom of Information Officer. Therefore, it is the policy of the Town of Normal that all Freedom of Information Requests be submitted to the Clerk's office located at City Hall.

All requests must be in writing. It is not necessary to complete the Freedom of Information Request Form; however, all requests must be in writing and contain all pertinent information necessary to comply with the request. A request may be completed online, at the Clerk’s Office or in writing by fax or email.

All non-commercial requests will be processed by the Town Clerk’s Office within five working days of the actual filing. In some instances additional time may be needed to comply, depending on the nature of the request. You will be notified in writing if a time extension is required.

Non-Exempt documents are available for inspection without charge. There is a fee of $3.00 for a copy of a Police Accident Report. There is no fee for copies of other documents, unless the documents are 50 pages or over, and in that instance, a fee of $.10 per page will be charged.

Occasionally some information may be denied pursuant to the FOIA Act. You will be notified in writing if information is denied. You may discuss the denial with the Clerk’s Office or the Town Legal Department. You may also appeal any denial to the Illinois Attorney General. The Clerk’s Office and/or the Legal Department will assist you in explaining the appeal process.