ARCOLA, IL. (ECWd) -
Arcola Township has continuously sent simple Freedom Of Information Act Request to their attorney, needlessly spending hard earned tax money and like some other public bodies, will attempt to say FOIA requests are costing them too much, which is BS.
Mr. Hackler, this article is not about any attempt to make you feel bad, but it is an attempt at pushing you into demanding that the township you are elected to represent put a stop to this useless spending of your constituent’s tax money. I don't think they will be happy when they read this. Please talk to the other trustees about this and don't let them tell you they have to, because there is litigation of a lawsuit, as that lawsuit has nothing to do with this request.
I recently sent a FOIA request to Arcola Township, requesting the following:
1. Detailed list of all income and expenses of the “Comfort Station Fund” since April 1, 2011.
A general ledger printout or a financial transaction history report will be sufficient.
Thinking something as simple as that would not "ruffle any feathers" I actually expected a response commensurate with the level of professionalism a public office should have.
Oh, how wrong I was...what I received was basically what I would frame as low level intimidation, similar to the kinds of letters sent to previous FOIA requestors of this public body. Instead of simply providing the requested public records, they decided to spend Arcola Township money, your tax money, money that I am sure you worked very hard to earn.
Mr. Mark Petty, Petty Law Office, was given the FOIA request and authored a letter, on the backs of the taxpayer, to tell me they would provide what I asked for, a "general ledger printout or a financial transaction history". Only this was not any ordinary letter, it was more of an attempt by Petty Law Office, on behalf of Arcola Township, and ultimately in behalf of the citizens in Arcola Township, to make a FOIA requestor like me somehow feel inferior to their "superior minds" - IT WILL NOT WORK!. After all, they run the place and who are we to ask anything of them?
When reading his, I mean YOUR response, please note that he refused to even acknowledge that I sent a FOIA Request, but instead insisted on referring to it as a "request for information" - which it was not. It was a FOIA Request, or Freedom Of Information Act Request.
Mr. Petty , in this letter, thinks they only have to provide "documents", which is a false statement. What they must provide upon request is the following, taken directly out of the Freedom Of Information Act:
(c) "Public records" means all records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, maps, photographs, microfilms, cards, tapes, recordings, electronic data processing records, electronic communications, recorded information and all other documentary materials pertaining to the transaction of public business, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been prepared by or for, or having been or being used by, received by, in the possession of, or under the control of any public body.
Although the following has nothing to do with the request and letter in question, I must also mention that another part of the Act the Township refuses to acknowledge applies, is the part about Records of Funds:
(5 ILCS 140/2.5)
Records of funds.
All records relating to the obligation, receipt, and use of public funds of the State, units of local government, and school districts are public records subject to inspection and copying by the public.
When you combine the -- USE OF public funds with the having been prepared by OR FOR, or having been or being used by, received by, in the possession of, or under the control of any public body; any person with an 8th grade education can understand that credit card receipts were prepared for a public body when the card was used, and cell phone bills were prepared for a public body when they were printed and mailed to the public body as part of the monthly cell phone bill.
View the FOIA Request and the Letter from the Citizens of Arcola Township (via Petty Law Office) - you should all be proud to spend your money so he can write letters as idiotic as the one he sent to me.