Local Government Lowdown

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FOIA

First District v. Fourth District’s Interpretation On Releasing Communications Sent/Received On Personal Devices – A Difference All Public Officials Should Know

A recent Illinois First District Appellate Court decision, Better Government Association v. The City of Chicago Office of Mayor and the City of Chicago Department of Public Health, 2020 IL App. (1st) 190038 (August 5, 2020), addresses whether communications on… Continue Reading →

Does FOIA Require Maintaining Records As Well As Providing Them?

On the last day of 2019, the Public Access Counselor (PAC) released its last binding opinion of the year. In PAC Opinion 19-013, the PAC found the City of Bunker Hill in violation of Illinois’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for… Continue Reading →

Court Sheds Light on FOIA’s Unduly Burdensome Exception

A recent Illinois appellate court decision, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Inc. v. The Board of Education of the City of Chicago, 2018 IL App. (1st) 171846 (December 3, 2018), is instructive on the procedural requirements that a… Continue Reading →

General Assembly Amends Local Records Act to Require Public Posting of Severance Agreements with Individuals Who Have Engaged in Discrimination or Harassment

Pursuant to Public Act 100-1040 (“Act”), effective immediately, any unit of local government, school district* or other local taxing body (collectively referred to as a “taxing body”) that enters into a severance agreement with an employee or contractor who has engaged in sex discrimination or sexual harassment is required to publish “information” regarding such… Continue Reading →

Public Access Counselor Addresses How Local Governments Must Deal with Repeat Requests Under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA” or “Act”), 5 ILCS 140/1 et seq., continues to present complications and problems for local governments. In Public Access Opinion 18-007 dated June 26, 2018, the Public Access Counselor (“PAC”) recently addressed the proper… Continue Reading →

FOIA Does Not Require a Public Body to Answer Questions or Create Records

In Martinez v. Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, 2018 WL 1308730 (March 12, 2018), Martinez submitted a FOIA request to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office seeking “each instance in which information obtained using a cell site simulator … was… Continue Reading →

Illinois Appellate Court Rules That Respect For The Judicial Process Requires That A Lawful Court Order Take Precedence Over The Disclosure Requirements Of FOIA

In consolidated cases, the First District Appellate Court of Illinois was recently presented with questions regarding the competing interests of public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and confidentiality of records subject to a protective order. In In… Continue Reading →

How A Customized Software Database Creates Problems Under FOIA

Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 ILCS 140/1 et seq., continues to pose challenges for local governments.  With the rise of customized software for storing a local government’s data, local governments will be faced with the challenge of providing… Continue Reading →

PAC Issues Binding Opinion Interpreting Law Enforcement Proceeding Exemption of FOIA

On March 14, 2017, the Public Access Counselor (PAC) of the Illinois Attorney General issued its first binding opinion of 2017, PAC Opinion 17-001. The opinion arises out of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made to the Illinois… Continue Reading →

New Law Tightens Travel Reimbursement Guidelines for Local Government Entities

While many public agencies already have written or unwritten practices in place regarding travel reimbursements, recent newspaper investigations have illustrated examples of excesses and abuses of public spending to allow for the attendance of elected officials and public employees at… Continue Reading →

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