Dec 5th 2019

Grades are out, and Chicago has a ‘D-’ average for its adherence to the Open Meetings Act and other public accessibility guidelines — that’s according to our recent analysis of 148 local agencies.

The data is published in City Bureau’s Open Gov Report Card (, which grades how Chicago and Cook County government agencies share important meeting information like agendas, minutes and schedules. Based on 11 criteria, only a fraction of agencies received an ‘A’ grade (just 2.7 percent) while 85 percent of agencies had a ‘C’ grade or below.

Why care about public meetings? They’re important spaces for democracy where anyone can join the conversation around important policy decisions. But if they’re not accessible to the general public, we’re being shut out of this process—often, in a way that’s prohibited by law.

What can we do about it? How do we build a more transparent system? And what can we learn from the data that’s available? What would accessibility to public meetings look like for Chicagoans? Those are questions we’ll tackle at the Public Newsroom, hosted by City Bureau’s Pat Sier and Sarah Conway.

Join us on Dec. 5, bring your curiosity and bring a friend!

And YES, refreshments will be served 🙂

This event is part of City Bureau’s #PublicNewsroom programming, a series of free, weekly workshops and discussions aimed at building trust between journalists and the communities they serve while shaping a more inclusive newsroom.

For more info on past and future Public Newsroom workshops and to becoming a sustaining member of City Bureau, visit

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