BENTON, IL. (ECWd) –
The Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor has issued a binding opinion, number 17-007, stating that the City of Benton, Illinois is responsible for fulfilling Freedom of Information Act requests for public records kept by the municipal airport board.
In reading this opinion, one could replace “City of Benton” with “Whiteside County” and “Municipal Code” with “620 ILCS 40” and have an opinion against the Whiteside County Airport and its board.
Nevertheless, this binding opinion is significant in that it places FOIA compliance requirements on the City of Benton for complying with an appointed city board’s FOIA requests. It makes perfect sense to us, that a public body cannot rid itself of FOIA responsibility by appointing committees to conduct its business.
In this particular case, the airport board oversees city owned property – much like most county airport board oversee county owned property – and therefore the city was responsible for see that FOIA requests to its airport board were answered in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.17-007