Village of Chatham – is Mayor Gray lying, or the paper? -Improper FOIA denial
- Sangamon Co. (ECWd -)
It appears the job of fact checking is once again left to independent citizens who have had their fill of misleading information published in the media.
This is a case where either the Mayor was not truthful with the reporter or the reporter fabricated the information.
This News Article, relating to the resident survey in Chatham, reported a statement made by Mayor Gray
“Village President Tom Gray said he understands that there are problems, but he’s also received emails that speak positively about the water.”
Mayoral Candidate Darlene Judd followed up on the reporting and submitted an FOIA to the Village of Chatham for the e-mails the Mayor received that speak positively about the water.
The response is most telling.
“I spoke with President Gray and he does not recall making such a statement, nor is he aware of any such emails.”
So not only does he not recall making the statement reported by the State Journal-Register but he claims he is not aware of any such emails.
For those that have not followed the water problems in Chatham, this bit of information is most disturbing because we have the mainstream local press reporting statements made by the Mayor to include his claim he has received positive emails about the water, but when held accountable to that claimed statement, not only does he not produce them, he claims he is not aware of any emails.
Or, is this a case of selective wording. He does not recall making the statement and he is not aware of any such emails. That is not the same as stating he did not say what was reported, nor is it a denial that such emails exist.
I would urge Mayoral Candidate Judd to file a request for review with the Attorney General Public Access Counselor to get to the bottom of this.
The FOIA response from Pat Schad is improper in our opinion as a FOIA request is not a request for Pat Schad to ask the Mayor if he said something or not. A FOIA Officer is supposed to do a proper search for the records requested. His response makes it clear no such search was made. He simply got a verbal from the Mayor that he does not recall any emails and closed out the FOIA request.
I suspect the AG PAC office would initiate a request for review and the first thing they would ask is what search process did they do for the records requested.
But then again, we can’t rule out the paper fabricating Mayor Gray’s comments, although I highly doubt that to be the case.