DuPage Co. (ECWd) -
As the world turns it's becoming evident that what goes around comes around. COD trustee Erin Birt is now experiencing the very thing she condoned while in charge and the video proves it!
While chairman of the board of trustees for COD, Erin Birt ignored the FOIA violations being committed by her FOIA officer who was classifying my FOIA request as a frequent/voluminous requester. The fact that we are exempt from that section of FOIA because we are non profit and media was ignored after repeated e-mails informing them of such, that included copies of our credentials and corporate records.
Only after a public comment during a meeting in January where I called them out on the violation in front of 500 people did they finally capitulate. (Click here for video - 3:01:40 -three hours, one minute, 40 seconds)
Now Erin Birt is being held accountable to the law with her FOIA request and she states it's "unreasonable and unethical" to charge elected officials trying to get information to perform their duties. (Click here for Daily Herald article on her FOIA moaning and groaning - may require subscription)
Another quote that may have cost me a keyboard from all the coffee spewing from my mouth when I read it, "They're attempting to bully me into requesting less documents or pay for it."
Ms. Birt, it is ILLEGAL, unreasonable, AND unethical to treat citizens requesting records in FULL compliance with the law the way you did while Chairman of the Board. How ironic when you are on the other end requesting records as a citizen you feel that the rules dont apply to you. Ms. Birt had no problem violating my rights of which improper assertions were made in an effort to diminish our access to records.
According to those I spoke with at COD, neither Birt or McGuire have been denied access to records in their capacity as a trustee. We know they are claiming it, but the facts simply don't support it. The recent attempt to bolster their fairy tale was to file a FOIA request, and now when being held to the standard of the law, she complains and once again garners local media headlines. Maybe she just likes having her picture in the paper?
The fact she treated our FOIA requests with total disregard for the law and now expects special treatment shows how out of touch this woman is.
She is a trustee and has a right to look at all records that pertain to her position as a trustee, and to date she has not been denied information.
This issue of elected officials having access is one we have written about numerous times. We have seen many times a majority of a board attempt to wrongfully deny access to records from the minority. In those cases all kinds of excuses were created of which none had any legal standing.
Note that this is not the case with COD.
Those seeking the records turned to FOIA for reasons that appear be in hopes of garnering attention to their self inflated egos and to diminish the new majorities efforts they are burdened with from the circus tent that came crashing down around COD over the last 8 months.
Elected officials should not be forced to FOIA records, however if they choose to take that path, they are held to the same law as everyone else.
One word of caution for COD is to not provide ANY trustee privileged information from a FOIA request because once you do that (under FOIA) record becomes public record. A FOIA officer may not understand that distinct separation of privilege as it relates to a FOIA from a trustee. The elected official has access to such, however, once the path of FOIA is taken a new set of rules apply.
I am truly amazed once again that Erin Birt takes the position she does on matters when history proves she refused to apply her standard to the same situation on my request for information. Information that I was legally entitled to!
Hypocrisy at the highest level!
Erin Birt, RESIGN!
PS: Ms. Birt, if you like, send me the FOIA request you submitted and I will file it FOR YOU and it won't cost you a dime. We are exempt from the rules being applied to you. Once I receive them I will upload them for you and the world to see and not charge a penny!