Clark Co., IL. (ECWd) -
In a new twist to the delay of producing public records when requested, the Clark County Park District has decided that they can simply claim a person as a recurrent requester and delay production of records an additional 16 days, to a total of 21 days.
Just this week, the District's Executive Director, Charity Murphy, responded to a person who requested public records that she was now considered a "recurrent requester". With the election being so close, they appear to be trying to hide the information from the public until after the election.
After talking to the individual affected and asking her how many FOIA requests she had sent in the past 7 days, the past month, and the past year, I quickly figured out that she does not fit into the definition of "Recurrent Requester" as defined in the Freedom of Information Act. The FOIA's definition is that within the past 12 months, a person must have submitted 50 FOIA requests, or 10 within the past 1 month, or 7 within the past week. These are "rolling" time-frames.
Once again...to be classified as a recurrent requester, one must file:
Within the 12 months immediately preceding the request:
(i) a minimum of 50 requests for records,
(ii) a minimum of 15 requests for records within a 30-day period, or
(iii) a minimum of 7 requests for records within a 7-day period.
What that classification does, is gives the public body 21 days to respond instead of the mandatory 5 days.
The requester does not fit this definition and the District has once again violated the law. The only recourse is to wait the 21 days and let the District get by with violations of the law, file a complaint with the Attorney General and wait 2 or 3 years for an opinion, or file a lawsuit in Circuit Court. At some point this Park District must start following the law as written.