McHenry Co. (ECWd) -
Looking at a recent denial of public records by the Algonquin Township Supervisor Charles Lutzow, it appears either he has no clue how to read the law or has once again recieved some questionable legal advice.
Call Skinner with McHenry County Blog requested the following:
"Records which will show entry into the Township Hall and her office by Clerk Karen Lukasik, as shown by records created from the use of her key fob."
The request is very common and actually can inform the public about the time their elected officials are actually in their office doing work. The City of Wheeling has denied a similar request and found themselves in an FOIA lawsuit when they tried to imply such a record does not inform the public as to when a person is working.
Lutzow denied the request for an entirely different reason and it is laughable as the exemption he cited in no way applies to the key fob information.
"Your request is denied pursuant to 5 lLCS 140/7( 1)(v) because the request is for information that would disclose security measures. and response policies or plans that are designed to identify, prevent, or respond to potential attacks upon a community's facilities. or installations, the contamination of which would constitute a clear and present danger to the health or safety of the community. The FOIA officer for this response is the Algonquin Township Supervisor, Charles Lutzow."
Entry information would not disclose security measures. Nor does it contain any response policies or plans to identify, prevent, or respond to potential attacks upon a community's facilities or installations. And so there is no confusion, any possible contamination of the Township building would not constitute a clear and present danger to the health or safety of the community.
The exemption cited is applicable to key information regarding infrastructure such as a water treatment plant or nuclear energy plant, not a Township office.
It gets funnier!
Skinner filed a request for review with the Attorney General PAC office and the response from the Township Attorney James Kelly is most telling. Kelly did not provide any support for the exemption cited in the denial and actually presents a theory to justify not giving up the information.
"The known comings and goings of various elected officials put those elected officials at risk, as someone may choose to stalk them or attempt to gain entry through the elected official by knowing their schedule."
So using Kelly logic, time cards, which are public records, would put public employees at risk, as someone may choose to stalk them or attempt to gain entry through the employees by knowing their schedule. LOL!
Yes, he actually points to potential stalking as a reason to not inform the public as to when the Township Clerk makes entry into the building.
He goes on to claim the safety and security of the elected officials is a priority due to contentious lawsuits they are involved in.
What Kelly does not provide the PAC, any information to support the denial based on the exemption cited in the first place nor any statutory authority to deny records because of a theory of stalking and contentious lawsuits.
Once again we must ask for the Township Board to take a hard look at the legal advice they are paying for.
You can download Kelly's response to the PAC at this link or view below.