ARCOLA, IL. (ECWd) –
This is an update on this request for review (here) (2013 PAC 25511) and I believe it is the only remaining FOIA request for review with Arcola Township left with the Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor. I have closed the other ones out in order to file civil suits in Douglas County Court ( 13-Mr-53, 14-MR-16, 14-MR-17, and 14-Mr-20).
There will be another civil suit filed Monday morning, June 16, 2014, for their alleged failure to answer yet another simple request for public records dating back to June 1, 2014.
In January of this year, the PAC asked Mr. Petty to respond again to the allegations that Arcola Township failed to provide the public records requested, and I had a chance to respond to his response.
Both are below:
Attorney General’s Second Round of Questions – AND – Petty’s response to the AG:
Download (PDF, 325KB)
My response to Petty’s response:
Read my claim on vacation days carefully in order to grasp its full meaning…
From: John Kraft [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Sunday, February 02, 2014 11:40 PM
To: ‘Hartman, Matthew’
Subject: re: 2013 PAC 25511 (Arcola Township)
February 2, 2014
Mr. Matt Hartman
Assistant Attorney General
Public Access Bureau
500 South Second Street
Springfield, Illinois 62706
Re: FOIA Request for Review – 2013 PAC 25511
I am writing this in response to Mr. Petty’s letter dated January 17, 2014 and forwarded to my on January 27, 2014.
Section 2(c) of the FOIA [5 ILCS 140/2(c)] defines “Public records” as:
“Public records” means all records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, maps, photographs, microfilms, cards, tapes, recordings, electronic data processing records, electronic communications, recorded information and all other documentary materials pertaining to the transaction of public business, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been prepared by or for, or having been or being used by, received by, in the possession of, or under the control of any public body.
Section 2.5 of the FOIA [5 ILCS 140/2.5] provides that: “All records relating to the obligation, receipt, and use of public funds of the State, units of local government, and school districts are public records subject to inspection and copying by the public.”
Section 3(a) of the FOIA [5 ILCS 140/3(a)] states in part: “a public body may not grant to any person or entity, whether by contract, license, or otherwise, the exclusive right to access and disseminate any public record as defined in this Act”.
Section 7 (2) states “A public record that is not in the possession of a public body but is in the possession of a party with whom the agency has contracted to perform a governmental function on behalf of the public body, and that directly relates to the governmental function and is not otherwise exempt under this act, shall be considered a public record of the public body for the purposes of this act”. The requested records; a) Meet the definition of “public records” as defined in Section 2 (c) of the Act, and, b) The requested records are “records of funds” generally, and in particular relate to the use of public funds as explained in Section 2.5 of the Act.
For the purposes of the credit card receipts:
Credit card receipts are public records as defined in the Act, They are also records relating to the use of public funds. If the Township chose not to keep copies of the receipts, the can simply go to the credit card company and get copies from them. Additionally, the Township, by its failure to obtain the records from third parties, has granted those third parties the exclusive right to access and disseminate public records. Since they have produced no “Applications for Authority to Dispose of Local Records” or “Record Disposal Certificates” for these particular public records, they must have chosen to allow the credit card companies to store these records on behalf of the Township.
The Attorney General has recently determined, in 2011 PAC 17699, that public records not kept in the possession of a public body, but with a 3rd party (cell phone company) were considered public records of the public body, and directed the public body to contact the cell phone company and obtain those requested records.
For the purposes of the vacation days:
As far as the vacation days only being verbal approval, I will state the mental records fall under the definition of Public Records as “having been used by” and “in the possession of” and “under the control of” a public body since Section 2(c) specifically states “regardless of the physical form or characteristics”. They are also records pertaining to the use of public funds.
Section 6 of the Act states that: “When a person requests a copy of a record maintained in an electronic format, the public body shall furnish it in the electronic format specified by the requester, if feasible. If it is not feasible to furnish the public records in the specified electronic format, then the public body shall furnish it in the format in which it is maintained by the public body, or in paper format at the option of the requester.”
Now, since the records cannot be produced in an electronic format, and they obviously cannot be produced in the format in which they are maintained by the public body, I am hereby exercising my option, according to Section 6 of the Act, that the requested public records be produced in paper format.
Attorney General Opinion 12-014 addressed the issue of putting records in a different format and determined it would not be considered “creation of a new record”. I am not requesting records they don’t normally keep; I am simply asking they be provided in a paper format.
For the purposes of the last paragraph of his letter:
Whether or not I filed a lawsuit to enforce my right to access public records, for FOIA denials not related to this request for review, is immaterial. However, I will note what Mr. Petty failed to note, and that is the first lawsuit was dismissed only because the paperwork was served improperly, not because of any defect in the pleadings.
Thanks for your consideration,