College of DuPage (ECWd) –
Like a big game hunter, stalking his prey for the first time with his shiny new gun, he chooses his steps carefully, and spots his prey. Aiming ever so carefully, thoughts are running through his head…he has his license to hunt, he has his gun, he put rounds in the gun, a round is chambered, nope-he didn’t forget anything…He gently squeezes the trigger, planting a round right through the heart! Jumping up and down with the thrill and excitement of his first big game kill, he approaches it…only to find out that it was not a deer as he had thought, but was instead his neighbor’s cow!
That is how COD must feel today! Just when they thought they could end it…they…were…wrong.
Under Dr. Breuder’s fabulous leadership, the College of DuPage has most likely made Illinois’ history – twice! By being the first public body to claim a request is a voluminous request – and being the first public body to get it wrong. Everything was set up perfectly, except they forgot to properly identify their target.
On December 3, 2014, the Illinois Legislature voted and passed the FOIA Veto Bill that created a “voluminous requester” provision along with some pretty offensive and oppressive fees that go along with it, which by the way we warned were going to be used as a revenue source by public bodies.
The College of DuPage, foaming at the mouth in anticipation, jumped at the chance to “stick it” to the first person they could, and it happened to come from a nonprofit organization. The problem here, is that the FOIA Officer failed to read the part of the new law where it placed a definition on a “Voluminous Request“.
|(h) “Voluminous request” means a request that: (i) includes|
|more than 5 individual requests for more than 5 different|
|categories of records or a combination of individual requests|
|that total requests for more than 5 different categories of|
|records in a period of 20 business days; or (ii) requires the|
|compilation of more than 500 letter or legal-sized pages of|
|public records unless a single requested record exceeds 500|
|pages. “Single requested record” may include, but is not|
|limited to, one report, form, e-mail, letter, memorandum, book,|
|map, microfilm, tape, or recording.|
| “Voluminous request” does not include a request made by
They could have saved this embarrassment by actually trying to figure out what they were claiming prior to sending out the letter…unless they received legal counsel on this decision, in which case they should fire whatever attorney advised them on this and demand their money back.
So within a couple days after Breuder tries fighting for further FOIA restrictions on people he feels don’t deserve to look at public records, his FOIA Officer tries to implement something that does not apply. This is nothing more than attempts at keeping records from the public by stalling and placing a substantial costs on those records. But it will not work in this case.
I suspect they were giving each other high-fives when they thought voluminous request would work, double high-fives when they wrote that fees would be significant since they thought COD could charge by the page, and Breuder might have even taken the Senior Management Team to the Waterleaf for a celebratory drink “on the house” when they thought they could charge for 75 hours of work to produce the records. Wow, what a miserable failure this turned out to be!
This certainly does nothing to further their claims of complete transparency, financial records are perfect, and all their audits are “clean”.
You can thank Senators Connelly and Althoff once again if you haven’t already, because they voted for and sponsored this oppressive FOIA Bill: