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Editorials

Thumbs-down to violating the Open Meetings Act

Thumbs-down: To Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees Chairman Wheeler Coleman, who refuses to admit the board violated the Open Meetings Act. The board approved a $600,000 separation agreement with former President Doug Baker in June, but its agenda was vague and the public was never told Baker planned to resign. The board then approved the agreement after a seven-hour closed meeting. As a result, a DeKalb County judge nullified the deal, forcing it to be re-approved Thursday. Coleman and the board should change their tune on the Open Meetings Act. Rather than defending their earlier attempt to avoid public scrutiny, they should vow to handle sensitive and important matters of public policy differently in the future. Be transparent about what you’re doing, and you’ll be spared having to do it twice. Not to mention paying legal fees.

Thumbs-up: To seeking alternative ways to address the opioid crisis. At a panel discussion this week, first responders, prosecutors and a pharmacist talked with residents about the opioid epidemic and alternative methods of helping people who are struggling with addiction. People from all walks of life can become addicted to opioids, which have flooded America through prescription and illicit sources. We’re pleased to see local police and prosecutors acknowledge that we cannot arrest our way out of the problem, and that there are multiple alternative treatment programs and laws being passed that will spare addicts from jail if they are willing to do the right thing and seek help to break the cycle of addiction.

Thumbs-up: To a successful police traffic enforcement detail over the Thanksgiving holiday. DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott’s office announced this week that during a stepped-up enforcement period from Nov. 17 to 27, they took several unsafe drivers off the road. Among them were five people suspected of driving under the influence, nine people with suspended or revoked licenses, 11 people with no insurance, and even a stolen vehicle. Law-abiding people of DeKalb County don’t want to share the road with uninsured, unlicensed or intoxicated drivers, and no one should ride in a car without wearing their seat belt. We’re pleased to see an enforcement campaign that succeeded in making the local roads safer.

Thumbs-down: To Chicago Bears head coach John Fox, who incredibly claimed he “felt good” about his team’s chances to block a chip-shot field goal in Sunday’s 15-14 loss to San Francisco instead of allowing the 49ers to score a touchdown and preserve time on the clock for his offense. As noted by ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson, there have been 2,431 field-goal attempts inside the 25-yard line since 2001. Only 20 have been blocked. The Bears’ beleaguered coach “felt good” about a 0.82 percent chance. This is why the Bears need a new coach for 2018.

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