January 18, 2016 · 0 Comments
Edgar Co., IL. (ECWd) –
In a previous article (here), we explained some of the history behind the Edgar County Airport Manager’s Handbook, aka Policy Manual, and the fact that it had never been approved at any meeting for use as the policy of the Edgar County Airport.
I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Edgar County Clerk asking for a copy of the minutes where this handbook was approved.
He responded with minutes from July 10, 2013 (approved at the August meeting), and since those minutes could have inadvertently used a word not intended, I asked for a copy of the July 2013 Agenda.
The July meeting was the meeting where the declaration of vacancy was announced after Chris Patrick resigned in June 2013.
On Page 5 of the July 2013 minutes, it clearly states, emphasis mine:
Airport. The Board approved IDOT’s Airport Manager’s Handbook as a guideline to develop their own policies for the Airport, on a motion by Farnham and a second by Voigt. All were in favor.
On Page 2 of the July 2013 agenda, it states:
18. Approve IDOT Division of Aeronautics Airport Manager’s handbook as a guideline.
So the board approved the use of the “IDOT” Airport Manager’s Handbook, not the edited one Wells and Patrick dreamed up the month earlier, to use AS A GUIDLELINE in developing the Edgar County Airport Policy. The resolution/approval was not to adopt the handbook as policy, but instead to use it to aid in developing a policy to adopt at a later date.
The importance of this distinction, is that in the past couple of months references were made to this Handbook/Policy and using it as a tool to evict certain renters from hangars. Chris Patrick was adamant that it was approved while he was on the county board. He even pointed my direction while telling the airport board that I did not know what I was talking about, LOL. We proved him wrong, as usual, using FOIA. Jimmy Wells also insisted it was adopted, and he meant adopted as the county policy, which we also proved wrong with this FOIA request.
So, to Gary Henry, the so-called reporter working for a certain self-styled “news” paper, this is exactly one of the reasons the Freedom of Information Act was placed into law by the state legislature. This is not “abuse of FOIA”, it is “use” of FOIA – to keep citizens informed of the actions of their public bodies so we can report true and accurate information to the public.
Video from the July 8, 2014 county board study session reinforces their intent, which is to approve it “as a guideline to use to develop county airport policy“:
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