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September 28, 2022

Clark Co. Park District’s Executive Director using Facebook to Intimidate FOIA Requesters –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On April 24, 2015

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.

CharityMurphyPic (WinCE)

Photo from Charity Murphy’s facebook account.

Read the entire “conversation” below (I stopped copying it at about 6:23 p.m. on April 24, 2015):

[gview file=”https://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Charity-Murphy.pdf”]

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20 Comments
  • ECWDogs
    Posted at 18:32h, 24 April

    Clark Co. Park District’s Executive Director using Facebook to Intimidate FOIA Requesters – http://t.co/qDwh52gLtr

  • Emma
    Posted at 18:41h, 24 April

    I know I read this somewhere but I can’t find it now (of course). But there was an issue with the Lisle Public Library doing something like this a few years ago: they would post the personal information of everyone who made FOIA requests in an effort to scare people from asking them for documents. It caused a big stink and they were forced to stop doing that. I don’t believe a public body is allowed to give out your personal information. Don’t they have to redact that? The home addresses of non-public employees are not public record and the names of FOIA requesters should be redacted under my understanding of the FOIA law. You should contact Citizen’s Advocacy Center and ask them for their take on this. But I believe when I read about what Lisle did years ago that all this came up.

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 19:04h, 24 April

      As far as I can see, there is a distinct difference between posting actual FOIA requests and what Charity did trying to incite a backlash against the requester by using all the “sentence enhancers” to somehow make people think they were now “unsafe”.

  • Tod
    Posted at 19:38h, 24 April

    what is the link to her Murphy’s facebook page? I did not find it with a general search.

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 19:41h, 24 April

      The comments were posted in the “Friends of Clark County Park District” group page. You might have to ask to join, but I think you can read without joining.

  • No Dog in this Fight
    Posted at 19:39h, 24 April

    And, with that said, I have to say: My first thought is – why in the world would the park district’s attorney, allegedly concerned about personal notification to all who might be “impacted”, or the park district’s executive director stating that she is trying to follow said attorney’s directive – think that a FB post would satisfy that concern and directive ? Without even considering motives, or pointing fingers, this is just plain ODD.

  • "Fed" Up Citizen
    Posted at 19:54h, 24 April

    I’m sure she expects a free seasonal camping spot valued at $1950 on top of her raise because she so competent.

  • SafeLibraries
    Posted at 20:29h, 24 April

    RT @ECWDogs: Clark Co. Park District’s Executive Director using Facebook to Intimidate FOIA Requesters – http://t.co/qDwh52gLtr

  • SafeLibraries
    Posted at 20:43h, 24 April

    Well done.

  • Justin Case
    Posted at 21:54h, 24 April

    I looked at her FB page and she isnt even from Marshall, no wonder she has no respect for our park

  • Michael W Bumpus
    Posted at 03:08h, 25 April

    Actually I have a slightly different viewpoint than John (I know, Surprise Surprise!). I think all FOIA requests should be posted. Set up a tab on the official web page and post them there. Public information is being requested, why not make the request public? Posting the requested information could be burdensome, but not the requests,.

    Justin, It isn’t the Marshall Park, it is the Clark County Park District. My understanding is Charity was allowed a certain period of time after being hired to put her residence in Clark County, and intends to be in county by the end of the month.

    Oh and the Friends of Clark County Park District Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/groups/1443187642609877/ Something was said about joining this group? It’s really simple, you just have to look “legit”. If your profile is a typical spammer it’s going to take a little convincing. But if you are an area resident or have a connection to Mill Creek, you’re in easy. We’re always ready to make new friends here.

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 07:21h, 25 April

      Mike, like I thought I said in an earlier comment, it is not the fact that information was posted about FOIA requests – I think it would be a good idea to post all requests along with all responsive documents – it was more of the “your private information is being sent and you should feel insecure and fearful now because the park district had to give it out” styled comments of the executive director that were clearly designed to elicit the responses that are evident in the comments on her posting.

      • Michael W Bumpus
        Posted at 11:20h, 25 April

        John we’ll have to politely disagree here. It’s more of a difference of attitude. You feel Charity posted what she did to stir up things. The alternative is she did it because she was concerned information was being provided people didn’t think was open to the public.

        I’m not sure which is true or how you would prove it. Or why it would be worth going to the trouble to prove it for that matter. You seem to view folks actions from a negative viewpoint. Barring evidence to the contrary I tend to give folks the benefit of the doubt. That goes for the Mill Creek Park Executive Director or Edgar County Watchdogs.

    • Lisa "Nickie" Thomas
      Posted at 09:06h, 25 April

      I don’t disagree with the public foia requester list. However, if that was to be done why couldn’t all info that is subject to foia be available online eliminating the need for requests in the first place?

  • Sharon Hollingsworth
    Posted at 08:16h, 25 April

    I grew up near what is now the Millcreek Park. I personally don’t visit the park with the exception of a family reunion once in a while. But, this business has to stop. It has gone on far too long. Seems to me like you have a real problem with Clark county. If you’re not griping about the park, you set your sights on the city of Marshall. I have read some of your posts on here about other places such as Lisle. Complaints about wind turbines. Problems in Danville IL. Where does it stop. Also, Mr. Kraft, why is there never a complaint regarding Edgar County, except the airport business. What about the jail that needs a lot of repairs or replacement. I think there would be a lot to complain about here in Edgar county. I have heard that you live in the Kansas area, but, don’t know for a fact ,but, seems to me you are willing to point fingers at anyone, anywhere, except here at home. I was always taught by my parents to “sweep off your own doorstep before you worry about someone else’s”. Maybe you should have ben taught the same thing. If you are a retired person, there is a lot of trash along our roads that needs to be picked up. Don’t you think that would be a better use of your time?

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 09:32h, 25 April

      Here are links to Edgar County articles since you missed them:
      http://3.133.133.226/category/edgar-county-board/
      http://3.133.133.226/category/city-of-paris/
      http://3.133.133.226/category/school-boards/shiloh/
      There are many others…and I am working on an article in reference to the Sheriff’s Department.

      I am “picking up the trash” thru this website – and I can think of no better way to keep the public informed of the inner workings of their local government. My doorstep does not include lying to the public, stealing from the public, bid-rigging, or any of the other items we have exposed on this site.

    • Michael W Bumpus
      Posted at 11:32h, 25 April

      Sharon, (and this may surprise some folks) I will stand up for John even though we butt heads occasionally. He seems to see things very black and white. It is right or it isn’t. I can respect him for that. We often disagree on viewpoints, he tends to approach things with a more negative point of view than I do. But when you get down to chasing facts (not opinions, facts) he’s usually right.

  • ECWDogs
    Posted at 11:46h, 25 April

    @MillCreekPark http://t.co/9JmzMJA5Aj

  • Warren J. Le Fever
    Posted at 16:24h, 25 April

    Actually, I first ran into the kind of behavior displayed by Charity Murphy back in the 1980’s when freedom of information filing began and have seen it many times since. It’s unfortunate. It’s a relatively seldom done thing. Years ago it was quite normal although not quite as much in recent years. It’s my opinion that the major problem exhibited is simply not wanting to work. If you want to see the exact opposite behavior, go to the Clark County Courthouse or to any of the county offices and if the information is available (if they have it or if the material is explicitly forbidden to release by law), they make you a copy and you pay and that’s it. Last fall, I wrote a complimentary article on how pleasant it is to do business with Clark County employees that was published in the Terre Haute Tribune and I mentioned how pleased the Watchdogs were to find it here. Not every public official or employee in the many different public taxing bodies in Clark County behaves as she did. That includes the towns, too.

  • "Fed" Up Citizen
    Posted at 18:03h, 27 April

    Does the Executive Director feel that she does not have to pay her bills because her husband is a police officer in Indiana too? She believes that her and others camp sites are private information. If she was worried about their safety then maybe she should not comment at all on social media. A letter could have went out to current campers, as well as past campers in those spots and well in advance of the day she had fulfilled the FOIA request. I highly doubt that was done immediately to hit all the people who are not part of the facebook group. I hardly believe that a victim of domestic violence would be camping at Mill Creek to hide from their abuser with local law enforcement so far away. What other privileges does she expect? Possibly to not be criminally prosecuted for the things that she may have done? It is time this board steps up in their roles, remove the director, hold themselves and others accountable and make this park district the best it can be. The time for bullshit is over. It will continue to be exposed as long as it happens. If there is nothing happening illegally or ethically, then there is nothing to complain about! FIX THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM. The people in charge right now at the park feel they can bully and harass to get their way. They don’t care what the public wants, especially when it comes to the lease lots. There is a pattern here. Pay attention. We will see in the end who has something to gain, and who WILL gain if the behavior of not listening to constituents continues.

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