City of Freeport To Create New Committee To Be Known As The ‘Social Justice Committee’

FREEPORT, ILLINOIS — An ordinance amending Section 220.11 of the Codified Ordinances of the City of Freeport Regarding council committees to create a new committee to be known as the Social Justice Committee is on the agenda tonight at a special meeting of Freeport City Council.

The special meeting will be held on Monday, June 8, 2020, at 6:00 pm in Council Chambers at 314 W. Stephenson St., Freeport, Illinois. Public Comments may be submitted until 4:45 pm before the meeting begins via email at danderson@cityoffreeport.org or by dropping a letter in the Water & Sewer drop box located behind City Hall on Exchange St.

These Public Comments will be read at the meeting.

During the meeting, cellphone no. 815.291.5865 will be available to call in comments. Calls will only be accepted at that number during the Public Comment section at the beginning and end of the meeting. That cellphone number will only be available during Public Comment. This phone will not be manned at any other time.

At the meeting these additional items on the agenda will be discussed, which you can find here.

ORDINANCE NO. 2020-32

WHEREAS, racial and social disparities exist across key indicators of success including, health, education, criminal justice, the environment, employment and the economy; and

WHEREAS, the City of Freeport, Illinois (“City”) acknowledges the negative effects of systemic racism and injustice in society and desires to discuss, identify and examine the root issues contributing thereto; and

WHEREAS, it is the City’s desire that through dialog with members of the community that it can create a plan of action to help combat systemic racism, social disparities and injustice; and

WHEREAS, the City has Codified Ordinances of the City (the “Code”); and

WHEREAS, Section 220.11 of the Code governs “Council Committees” of the City; and

WHEREAS, the City now desires to amend Section 220.11 to create a new council committee to be known as the “Social Justice Committee”; and

WHEREAS, the committee will be comprised of City elected officials, the Chief of Police, the Fire Chief, community leaders and other public members; and

WHEREAS, the purpose of the committee will be to review and make recommendations on social injustice issues in the Freeport area and how they can be addressed in an effort to eliminate race-based disparities in our community and promote race and social justice across Freeport institutions; and

WHEREAS, the City reaffirms its commitment to principles of equality and freedom for all people regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, ability, national origin, and other protected classes and it is the City’s desire that the Social Justice Committee can help bring reconciliation, unity and healing to our community; and

WHEREAS, the City Council specifically finds that this ordinance creating a Social Justice Committee is in the best interests of the public health, safety, morals and general welfare of the residents of the City of Freeport.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF FREEPORT, ILLINOIS AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1. The above-recitals are incorporated herein and made a part hereof.

Section 2. That Section 220.11 of the Code entitled “Council Committees” is hereby amended to create a new Subparagraph (g) to be entitled “Social Justice Committee” and which Subparagraph shall read as follows:

“(g) Social Justice Committee.

(1) Establishment. There is hereby established a Social Justice Committee of the City, which shall consist of the Mayor, one (1) Alderperson, the City Chief of Police, the City Fire Chief and up to twelve (12) members of the public. The Social Justice Committee will make recommendations on courses of action to the City Council and shall be an advisory body only.

(2) Meetings. The Social Justice Committee shall meet upon the call of the Chairperson, the Co-Chairperson, any two Alderpersons or when matters are referred to it by the City Council for review and/or recommendation. The Social Justice Committee shall meet in the City Council chambers, or such other location as may be determined by the Chairperson. Meetings of the Social Justice Committee shall conform with all applicable provisions of the Illinois Open Meeting Act.

(3) Chairperson and Co-Chairperson. The Chairperson of the Social Justice Committee shall be the Mayor. The Co-Chairperson shall be selected from amongst the public members by a majority vote of the Alderpersons.

(4) Public Members. The twelve (12) members of the public shall be selected by a majority vote of the Alderpersons.

(5) Agenda items. Agenda items for the Social Justice Committee shall be as requested by the Chairperson, Co-Chairperson, any two Alderpersons, any two committee members, or as referred to it by the City Council. All agenda items for consideration shall be submitted to the Chairperson and the Chairperson shall be responsible for drafting the agenda.

(6) Duties and Responsibilities. The Social Justice Committee shall be responsible for reviewing and making recommendations to the City Council on social injustice issues in the Freeport area and how they can be addressed.

(7) Quorum. No meeting shall occur in the absence of a quorum.

(8) Term. Each committee member shall be appointed to a six (6) month term. Members may serve more than one term.”

Section 3. This Ordinance shall be effective upon its passage by the City Council, its approval by the Mayor, and its publication as provided by law.

Section 4. This ordinance is expressly adopted pursuant to the Home Rule Powers of the City of Freeport under Section 6 of Article VII of the Illinois Constitution of 1970.

Section 5. All ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict with this Ordinance are repealed insofar as they conflict.

Section 6. If any section, clause or provision of this Ordinance be declared by a Court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of the Ordinance as a whole or any part thereof, other than the part so declared to be invalid, and this City Council hereby expressly declares that it would have enacted this Ordinance even with the invalid portion deleted.

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