Clark Co., IL. (ECWd) -
This afternoon, Charity Murphy, the Executive Director of the Clark County Park District decided to use Facebook as a means to intimidate Freedom of Information Act requesters into submission through "peer pressure".
This is a direct assault on citizens of this State with the full force and resources of a government body.
The Park District recently received FOIA requests for information related to seasonal and annual campground spots, and for the financial transaction report for those campsites among other things. She decided to take her frustrations out on Facebook, during normal operating hours of the Park, claiming that the park attorney told her to do so. (Read the post here).
In her posting, she claims to inform people that their "personal information" will be sent as part of the response and urges them to "share the post" with as many people as possible, telling them it is "out of the park district's control" and that she feels it "violates their privacy" and it "could pose a potential threat".
As you can see, she is attempting to intimidate the requester into cancelling the request, which has the additional effect of making sure anyone else that might want public records to think twice or they will be next on her hit list.
Some of the comments posted by other people directed towards the FOIA requesters include:
"Some people need to find other things to do in their life than constantly nit pick the park all day, every day."
"For the love of God some of you need to get a life. It is none of your Damn business about my information..."
"You are personally making it your life's work to piss off the pope!!!!! Come see me if you want something pertaining to me or I GUARENTEE my lawyer will be contacting you and don't try to call my bluff old man."
"You want attack people???? I welcome it!!!! What really sucks is I spent 8 years in the military defending your right to be an asshole!!!! "
"your nothing but a shit stirrer "
"keep poking a dog with a stick and the dog will bite!!"
As you can see, this Executive Director has put people that simply requested public records in a war of words with other citizens. This was done on purpose, and I presume with the thoughts that no one else will dare ask any questions ever again.
Until their meeting in May when some new board members will be installed, this District is still under the same board that was arrested last summer after trampling on citizen's right to comment to the board at a meeting, the same board that tried secretly approving things during a meeting and refused to tell people what the board just approved, the same board that tried sneaking in a meeting without posting notice - and having it at the Catholic Church, and now this.
When will the trampling of the rights of citizens stop? Granted, there is nothing that i know of that prohibits a public body from publishing FOIA request information, but the point in this case is how it was put out there for the public to see, and with all of the "the world is ending" comments by Charity Murphy mixed in with the posting of it.
This was not simply putting information out to the public, this was posting with the intent of extracting some sort of revenge and to show the other piss-ant citizens that they had better never, ever, ask for public records again.
Of course, this type of behavior from a public employee or officer does not deter what we do - it simply gives us more to write about.
Read the entire "conversation" below (I stopped copying it at about 6:23 p.m. on April 24, 2015):