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FIPHD – License and Permit for Public Documents? What?.

IROQUOIS CO. (ECWd) –

The Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department (FIPHD) has a problem with understanding the requirements of the Illinois Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) and Open Meetings Act (OMA).

Through information obtained during recent FOIA requests, we have identified an alleged illegal meeting on the part of the FIPHD. This meeting took place thru emails sent and replied to by various members of the FIPHD board. The subject was whether to grant a fee reduction in response to a FOIA request.

The OMA states that “any gathering” of a “majority of a quorum” of a public body constitutes a meeting. It even defines “meeting” in Section 1.02 to include:

"Meeting" means any gathering, whether in person or by video or audio conference, telephone call, electronic means(such as, without limitation, electronic mail, electronic chat, and instant messaging), or other means of contemporaneous interactive communication, of a majority of a quorum of the members of a public body held for the purpose of discussing public business or, for a 5-member public body, a quorum of the members of a public body held for the purpose of discussing public business.

This obviously includes emails that are sent to a majority of a quorum and responded to a majority of a quorum. So the emails in question, in my opinion, are illegal meetings.  Our own Edgar County States Attorney has cautioned people in this county on this very topic.

The email we are concerned about was discussing a FOIA request sent by Mr. Allen which requested several documents. His request was denied, claiming it to be unduly burdensome, without giving him the opportunity to reduce it to a more manageable size. This made it an improper denial. He filed suit in Iroquois Circuit Court seeking, among other items, the requested documents.

The Emails

The most telling part of theses emails is some board members wanted to know what we would do with the information and whether we had “press credentials” (this does not exist other than an ID made by the news organization itself) or qualifications, license or permits that allow us to gather the information. OK Teddie, “News Media” is defined in FOIA (Section 2(f)) and there is no mention of “Press Credentials”, “License”, of “Permit” of any kind. Also, please explain why a person would need a certification to read grant paperwork and make comments on that paperwork…and what would the name of that certification be?

Really? Licenses, permits, and qualifications to gather public documents? Teddie Jensen, did you grow up in the old Soviet Union where you think a license or permit is required to obtain public documents? Just when I though I had heard it all, here you come and say something so far out there, if it wasn’t written down I would not have thought anyone would make those claims. Please read the FOIA and see if you come up with that same statement again.

Public Interest: Gathering and disseminating information to the public is by definition “public interest”, as apposed to private interest or using the documents for private gain. You do not have the right to even ask how the information will be used nor what opinions we would express in reference to the information – leave that to the North Koreans.

Dr. Brucker, do you hear yourself?

“just because they say its in the public interest doesn’t mean anything”

Using your own logic Dr. Brucker,  just because you say the department was cleared does not make it so!

“then people from the county would be requesting it and turning it over to proper authorities, which, by the way, have already cleared the health dept!”

Saying nobody was charged with a crime yet, would be a more truthful statement than the false claim that the health department has been cleared.

As far as being “cleared” Doc, have you complied with your OMA training as a board member on the Health Department?  Last FOIA reflected you had not.  Cleared huh?

Please read these comments yourself if you can keep from throwing your computer in the dumpster. But fair warning, you can’t unread what you have already read.

—– Forwarded Message ——————————–
From: Ted & Cathie Jensen <>
To: KEVIN BRUCKER <>; Cary Hagen <>
Cc: “<rod.copas>” <>; “<ESTAGEN>” <>; “<bernadette.ray>” <>; Doug Corbett <>
Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 11:12 PM
Subject: Re: FOIA REQUEST

I am in agreement with Dr. Brucker although I am not sure what the state or federal government defines as public interest. I would want a documentation from them in regard to how this will be used for public interest. If it is only to publish something that has their opinion I would say that is to promote themselves and to not disseminate the truth. If they are publishing something for the public benefit then I would want to know what their qualifications and license or permits that they hold to gather this information for the public. Otherwise I think that this is a hollow ruse to have a talking point about something that the know nothing about nor have the certification to make comments about. If they claim to be a news publisher then I would want to see their press credentials.

Teddie Jensen

From: KEVIN BRUCKER <bruck30@aol.com>
To: Cary Hagen <chagen@fiphd.org>
Cc: “<rod.copas>” <>; Ted & Cathie Jensen <>; “<ESTAGEN>” <>; “<bernadette.ray>” <>; Doug Corbett <DCorbett>
Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 4:56 PM
Subject: Re: FOIA REQUEST

I’m NOT in favor of giving any breaks or reductions at all. Just because they say its in the public interest doesn’t mean anything. If this is truly publican interest, then people from the county would be requesting it and turning it over to proper authorities, which, by the way, have already cleared the health dept!

Kevin
Sent via mobile
Kevin Brucker

On May 1, 2013, at 4:42 PM, “Cary Hagen” <chagen> wrote:Board Members:

Please see my email below to State’s Attorney James Devine regarding a FOIA request which will consume approximately between 2,000-2760 pieces of copy paper and in turn will cost the requesters between $300-$400.

You will notice the response from State’s Attorney James Devine regarding my question to him.

Please advise me as to what you would like for me to do regarding the negotiating the fees.

Thank you!

Cary E. Hagen
Financial/Support Services Coordinator
Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department
114 N. Third Street
Watseka, IL 60970
Phone: 815-432-2483
Fax: 815-432-2198

Email: chagen

From: Jim Devine [mailto:jdevine]
Sent: Wednesday, May 01, 2013 3:15 PM
To: Cary Hagen
Subject: RE: FOIA REQUEST
Cary:
They have, of course, asked for a waiver and/or a reduction of fees because the request is in the “public interest”. The reduced charge is determined by the public body according to the FOIA.

Go ahead and process the request so that noncompliance does not become an issue. The reduced charge fee will be up to FIPHD (public body).

Let me know if you have any more questions.

Jim Devine

From: Cary Hagen [mailto:chagen]
Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 10:22 AM
To: Jim Devine
Subject: FOIA REQUEST
Good morning Jim-

I just spoke with Doug regarding the FOIA information that has been requested on Julie Clark. I have roughly figured the cost will be between $300 – $450 for this request. This does NOT include the copies of grants for the last 2 year.
I would appreciate it if you would contact Edgar County Watchdogs to inform them of the cost before I start copying these requests.
Thank you.
Cary E. Hagen
Financial/Support Services Coordinator
Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department
114 N. Third Street
Watseka, IL 60970
Phone: 815-432-2483
Fax: 815-432-2198

Email: chagen

—————————————————-

FOIA and Denied Requests

(5 ILCS 140/3) (from Ch. 116, par. 203)

(d) Each public body shall, promptly, either comply with or deny a request for public records within 5 business days after its receipt of the request, unless the time for response is properly extended under subsection (e) of this Section. Denial shall be in writing as provided in Section 9 of this Act. Failure to comply with a written request, extend the time for response, or deny a request within 5 business days after its receipt shall be considered a denial of the request. A public body that fails to respond to a request within the requisite periods in this Section but thereafter provides the requester with copies of the requested public records may not impose a fee for such copies. A public body that fails to respond to a request received may not treat the request as unduly burdensome under subsection (g).

(g) Requests calling for all records falling within a category shall be complied with unless compliance with the request would be unduly burdensome for the complying public body and there is no way to narrow the request and the burden on the public body outweighs the public interest in the information. Before invoking this exemption, the public body shall extend to the person making the request an opportunity to confer with it in an attempt to reduce the request to manageable proportions. If anybody responds to a categorical request by stating that compliance would unduly burden its operation and the conditions described above are met, it shall do so in writing, specifying the reasons why it would be unduly burdensome and the extent to which compliance will so burden the operations of the public body. Such a response shall be treated as a denial of the request for information.

(5 ILCS 140/9) (from Ch. 116, par. 209)

    Sec. 9. (a) Each public body denying a request for public records shall notify the requester in writing of the decision to deny the request, the reasons for the denial, including a detailed factual basis for the application of any exemption claimed, and the names and titles or positions of each person responsible for the denial. Each notice of denial by a public body shall also inform such person of the right to review by the Public Access Counselor and provide the address and phone number for the Public Access Counselor. Each notice of denial shall inform such person of his right to judicial review under Section 11 of this Act.

The FOIA request was not properly denied. A lawsuit was filed. The public body cannot charge for copies since they previously denied the request improperly.

PermitFIPHD

20 replies »

  1. To Iroquois Resident:
    You stated: “He is a snake, and would rather stir up trouble and send e-mails behind peoples backs to try and get someone in trouble.”

    What emails were sent behind anyone’s back? Your pretty quick to call a man a snake that sent the very public emails he got directly to the clerk. Hiding them would make him a snake. He did not.

    “You guys amaze me by the fact that you tried to make me and everyone else believe that you didn’t get what you wanted and just happened to FOIA the right place!”

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who too FOIA. First stop was the FIPHD. Then when I didn’t get what I asked for I contacted the only health board member I had a contact number for. He confirmed such a letter existed and advised it would be available from the clerk as his emails are subject to FOIA just like everyone else.

    “And isn’t it funny that those are the ONLY e-mails in the entire FOIA from a 30 day period!!!”

    Actually there is about 30 of them. I had only forwarded a few of them to John as several had no bearing on the article. He posted what I sent. You want the rest let me know.

    “you did not send a FOIA to the County Clerk AFTER you didn’t get what you wanted.”

    That woudl be a lie! My request to the clerk was several days AFTER I didnt get what I asked for from the FIPHD.

    Keep digging because your only helping our cause! Honest open government is all we are asking for and to date the FIPHD administrator and a few select others dont seem to know what that means.

    Its sad because there are some realy great people working there that don’t deserve the black eye that Corbett is giving everyone.

  2. Looks like there is a total of 22 or 23 emails I got from the clerk that Corbett sent to the board members and were not included in my FOIA request.
    Send me your email and I will send them to you.

  3. To Iroquois Resident:
    Your trying way to hard to read into an agenda and your making yourself look silly when you don’t have all the facts.

    I got wind from WITHIN the health department that the States Attorney sent a letter to Corbett. Actually three different people told me about it and that he was pissed.

    Corbett sends it by e-mail to the Board for the FIPHD according to our sources in that office.

    I asked for all emails sent to those board members from Corbett over the last 30 days to include attachments and it also included emails pertaining to 2 other in that office.

    His response DID NOT have the attached States Attorney Letter. He violated the FOIA Act. Inf act, he didn’t provide any of the emails I got from the Clerks office. Nobody lied about anything. What copies of emails do you want? The paper trail is pretty clear and since your so smart, why don’t you FOIA exactly what I did from those offices. Just ask for Kirk Allen’s FOIA’s for the last 30-60- days!

    Why did I FOIA the Clerk?

    I called Rod Copas after receiving Corbett’s response that did not have the letter from the States Attorney to find out if he actually received such an email. I called him because he is on the health board. I confirmed that he had received a copy of the letter from Corbett.

    I told him I want a copy of that letter and any other emails Corbett sent to the health board members. He advised he woudl forward them to the clerk who would provide them with a FOIA.

    I sent my FOIA to the clerk and shortly after the request, information was sent.

    Julie Clark sent my FOIA request that DID NOT HAVE what I asked for on Mon 4/29/2013 3:34 PM. That is several days before I asked the clerk for anything.

    You imply that the county chairman should have said “maybe we shouldn’t do this”? Do what? Provide public records that I spoke to him about on the phone after I was denied my information from Corbett?

    Its clear you have an issue with the Chairman and I suggest you take that up with him.

    I challenge you to meet with us Monday or Tuesday of next week to discuss the events that took place so you can see how out of line your comments are.

    The facts are, I asked for records I knew existed. I was denied those records. I took steps over the next couple days from that denial to confirm if the record truly existed. With all indications pointing to the fact it did exist I contacted the only health board member I had a number for. Confirmation was established and another request was made to another public body to get what I was looking for. You claimed I lied? Lied about what? You want the files they sent me in that response? It did contain numerous emails that turns out were sent to the members of the health board. 23 total if I recall correctly. No one has lied about anything and your claim otherwise is laughable.

    Had Corbett complied with the FOIA in the first place no one else would have been bothered with our request or phone calls.

    I find it quite telling you don’t have a single word to say about Mr. Corbett violating the FOI Act for public records.

  4. Ok boys!!! I was just going to take care of it myself, but since you shot your mouth off Mr. Allen, I’ll tell you what is going on. Looking back, I should have posted this anyway so that your readers see how you operate! You guys are the ones that are not real smart! Want to know why? Because if you were, you wouldn’t have lied about sending your own FOIA request to Mr. Corbett and not getting what you wanted with the e-mails. I’m wasn’t talking about months ago. I was talking about these e-mails you wanted from COPAS from the last 30 days, which is why you go into this big dissertation in your post trying to get people to remember 2 months ago instead of what I was requesting!!! You knew what I wanted, and you knew why. There was just no way to get out of changing the stamps was there?? And isn’t it funny that those are the ONLY e-mails in the entire FOIA from a 30 day period!!! That cracks me up even more!! If any sane person would look at the time stamps on the FOIA request, and the e-mails from Copas, one would see that you did not send a FOIA to the County Clerk AFTER you didn’t get what you wanted. Our crooked Cunty Board Chairman sent you the info through the FOIA officer Amanda Longfellow! Now, let’s talk about the time stamps some more! Dear Mr. Copas sent his e-mails to Amanda Longfellow at 12:49 on May 2nd. You guys sent your FOIA, that you say you did on your own (because you didn’t get what you wanted) at 12:59 on the 2nd as well. TEN MINUTES AFTER COPAS SENT HIS E-MAILS TO AMANDA LONGFELLOW, the FOIA officer. Should I type that again, or did you get it????? Amanda in turn sends your request back to you at 1:01. That could be the quickest FOIA return in the history of government. 2 minute turn around, and you had what you needed FROM OUR COUNTY BOARD CHAIRMAN!!!!! Who also by the way is on the HEALTH BOARD. If he was the standup guy YOU think he is, and he was doing the right thing, he would have said something to the sender of the e-mails to say “hey maybe we shouldn’t do this”. But he didn’t. He is a snake, and would rather stir up trouble and send e-mails behind peoples backs to try and get someone in trouble. You 2 can blow smoke at me all you want about how you FOIA’d the clerk all you want, making it sound like it was your idea, but the truth is, COPAS was your mole just like this whole time!!! You guys amaze me by the fact that you tried to make me and everyone else believe that you didn’t get what you wanted and just happened to FOIA the right place! Can’t fool me boys. And the info I collected by your, and Copas’ arrogance and oversight will be sent to the right people in this town. I CAN GAURANTEE YOU THAT!!!

    • First of all, we have nothing to hide – if we wanted to change the time-stamps it is an easy thing to do – you can one here: https://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/DoctoredTimestamp.jpg (I did that in less than 3 minutes). I guess now you will say it is a picture instead of a PDF, which is easily fixed by printing it and scanning as a PDF, but I don’t want to waste my ink on you.- now that we shot that one down…

      Fastest FOIA turn-around in history? Doubtfull as we typically get them answered from the City of Paris that fast or faster depending on if they have it electronic or not. Most FOIA officers, with nothing to hide, will answer FOIAs as fast as they can so they can get on with their other work – others take the whole 5 days to answer a simple request.

  5. 5 hours and no response regarding the published FOIA requests. Interesting how the truth shuts people up!

  6. To “Iroquois Resident”
    Mr. Corbett failed to provide the information I requested. I emailed the county clerk with a FOIA seeking basically the same thing and got what I was asking for.

    Mr. Corbett violated the FOI Act by refusing to supply the requested documents. When are you going to ask that he be held accountable?

    You can attack us all day long and I assure you it will not do any good for you or your county. We do not post fabrications and everything we post has documents to back it up. In many cases from several sources.

    When three different people came to us in February asking for help we agreed because it was clear they had valuable information and it needed exposed. Sadly, the citizens in most cases feel there is no way to fix it so they don’t get involved. John and I are not wired that way.

    We are involved and because of the great success this site has experienced this concept of public corruption exposure is being taken state wide. Its the peoples money!

    And you are correct, I don’t pay property tax’s in your county. Neither do many of the welfare recipients in your county. Are you implying that if you don’t pay property tax’s you give up your constitutional rights to public records? What you fail to understand, I DO pay tax’s in your county. Each and every time I am there.

    What is going on and being exposed is bigger than you realize. This is not about Doug Corbett, Julie Clark, or any other single public official.

    This is about the attitude public employees have when it comes to the peoples rights under our constitution and how our citizenry has become so numb to the problem its only getting worse.

    We the People has a meaning and we fully intend to take all steps necessary to preserve the founding principals of our country.

    Our rights will not be trampled!

  7. Oh, I think you have it. But what is going to be interesting is who you FOIA’d, and when, because those e-mails weren’t even sent until 4:30 on the 1st, and you had your FOIA sent, returned, and an article posted on here by the 3rd! So we will check out just who you got the info from! Can’t wait. And I love how our County Board Chairman lied to the people saying that the auditing of the health department was not going to cost the taxpayers or county any extra money, and now one board member said that in executive session last month the bill to the county from the firm was $15,000 dollars! And the letter still hasn’t been signed! And that was at yesterdays county board meeting.Nice Chairman we have there! Quality guy. What a joke!!

    • You must think we don’t have it. That is not the case, we are currently workong on other items and hopefully will post that FOIA sometime today. If you really wanted to find out all you have to do is send a FOIA seeking copies. But we will humor you today and post it ourselves.

  8. Mr. Kraftie, (since that is the language you like to use talking about other people like some 5 year old), I am waiting patiently for the copy of the requested FOIA you sent to the County Clerk, as well as the copy of the response you received from them that you said in your earlier post you would put on here. You and Mr. Allen and I all know why you don’t want to put it up don’t we?? Have some guts and post it like you said you would. You said your site is all about honesty and integrity, so follow through!!

  9. So the copies that are being made for you that run through a copy machine is not a waste?? Are you kidding me! And the cost of $300-400 dollars for the ONE (of many) FOIAS to be sent to you does not include the hours it took one to put it together! It only includes the paper and copier cost. 2,760 pieces of paper for one FOIA!! That’s insane!Someone has to take care of your request instead of doing their job all day, and that is costing the county tax dollars as well! Like I said, let the County Board and the Health Board take care of these so called “issues” if there are any. You live in edgar county. Last time I checked, you didn’t pay taxes in Iroquois County, so stop having us spend our tax dollars on paper and time to supply you with the same thing our boards can look at whenever they want!!

    • To Iroquois Resident:
      “So the copies that are being made for you that run through a copy machine is not a waste?? Are you kidding me! And the cost of $300-400 dollars for the ONE (of many) FOIAS to be sent to you does not include the hours it took one to put it together! It only includes the paper and copier cost. 2,760 pieces of paper for one FOIA!! That’s insane!”
      .
      If Dougie didn’t violate or allow the violation of the FOIA LAW, we would have had to pay for the copies. But since it is clear certain public employees think they can restrict public documents at-will, the FIPHD has to eat that cost. If I were a resident if Ford or Iroquois Counties, I would file suit to force Mr. Corbett to personally pay the costs out of his own pocket.

  10. So if you got the information from the County Clerks office about the e-mails, then you won’t mind sharing a copy of that FOIA reply on your website. Since it is public information, and you didn’t pay for it, you shouldn’t have a problem doing this! I will wait for your response with the copy.

  11. So let’s talk about how you came into possesing these e-mails that don’t have your names in the send column, or the CC by the looks of it. Could it be that our good Mr. Copas is forwarding these to you to further stir up the pot??? He is on the Health Board as well as the COUNTY BOARD, so if there are problems like you say, then let him handle them! It is really no business of yours at this point honestly. This site is only to get people to agree with your opinion, and stir up problems! If we want to talk about wasted money in the county, let’s talk about the hundreds of man hours and expenses for supplies that add up to thousands of dollars to put together all the FOIAS that you have sent to the Health Department and County! Are you going to repay the county for all those expenses? I would love for you guys to post on here a copy of all the FOIAS that you have sent to those agencies. People would be shocked at how much info is being asked for, and how long that takes to put together! And after all that, the Attorney General still isn’t interested in pursuing anything. There are tax dollars being wasted here for sure, but it is you guys it’s being wasted on. Let our States Attorney and County Board take care of the so called “PROBLEMS” if there are any! Go ahead, POST all the FOIAS you have sent! I dare you! People will start to understand the other side of the story when you complain that you didn’t get what you want in a timely manner and that you were told that “it was too burdensome in relation to getting their own work done”. So go ahead, post all of them on here! Stick to your investigative reporting in your own county and let us take care of it now!

    • To Iroquois Resident:
      “So let’s talk about how you came into possesing these e-mails that don’t have your names in the send column, or the CC by the looks of it. Could it be that our good Mr. Copas is forwarding these to you to further stir up the pot??? “

      It is called a FOIA request to the County Clerk, who unlike Doug Corbett, actually provides the requested documents. Now that we know they exist, Douggie will soon see another FOIA lawsuit with his name on it.

      “It is really no business of yours at this point honestly. “

      It is the business of anyone that wants to make it their business – that is why it is a PUBLIC body and a PUBLIC Health Department.

      “Are you going to repay the county for all those expenses?”

      No.

      “Go ahead, POST all the FOIAS you have sent! I dare you! “

      We will, but not because of a dare…

      “If we want to talk about wasted money in the county, let’s talk about the hundreds of man hours and expenses for supplies that add up to…”

      What waste? It is a PRIMARY OBLIGATION of all public bodies to provide requested public documents. The waste is spending needless time and money trying to defend lawsuits that cannot be defended.

  12. Haven’t you figured out yet that Doug Corbett, Cary Hagen and the Ford County Board of Health Members DO NOT CARE what the law says? They will continue to try to justify incompetence as long as the Ford County Board allows them to continue!

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