McHenry Co. (ECWd) -
When it comes to elected officials we commonly find they have no clue what their obligations are under the law, because the vast majority of them have never read the law pertaining to their obligation for the office they hold. When that becomes evident and matters start getting exposed, we find the excuses start rolling out of their mouths.
We are going to outline some of those excuses provided by Karen Lukasik who is the Algonquin Township Clerk. We have covered several matters on Algonquin over the last month that can be found at this link.
As it relates to Freedom of Information Act compliance, or should I say lack of compliance, we find these excuses invoked by Lukasik for just two FOIA requests.
- I'm not sure where the employee records would be
- I had family in for the holidays
- I misunderstood your request
- I've been presented with much turmoil from day one
- You seem to be targeting me and I don't know why
- I've done nothing wrong other than get behind on FOIA
- I have no staff
- I work full time in the private sector and have no staff
- I will once again try to find and fulfill your requests this weekend
Our response to the laundry list of excuses:
- You're the Clerk, it is your duty to be the custodian of all records. Not knowing where employee records are 6 months into your term is unacceptable
- I too spent time with family during the holidays but not sure what that has to do with an FOIA you received on November 13, 2017. Considering the request was due no later than November 21st, this is just another excuse that ignores the reality of your obligations.
- Misunderstood the request? So why wait until its past due to get clarification?
- You're the FOIA officer. Who else am I supposed to "target" to get records?
- Got behind in FOIA? FOIA is a primary duty by law, which means it takes priority.
"The General Assembly recognizes that this Act imposes fiscal obligations on public bodies to provide adequate staff and equipment to comply with its requirements. The General Assembly declares that providing records in compliance with the requirements of this Act is a primary duty of public bodies to the people of this State, and this Act should be construed to this end, fiscal obligations notwithstanding."
- You ran for an elected office. It was your duty to determine if you could handle the job before you asked for peoples votes. The fact you have no staff appears to be of your own making. More on that in another article.
- The fact you work full time in the private sector and you're using that as an excuse tells me you did not do your due diligence in determining if you could handle the job prior to being elected. Perform your duties or resign!
- Trying to fulfill my request "this weekend" tells me you have no interest in compliance with the law as you clearly don't understand your obligations, or at a minimum, you choose to ignore them. This request you now want to take more time to fill is already well past due.
These are just examples of the actions by the Township Clerk that all point to her inability to comply with the mandates of her position. She should resign if this is how she intends on doing business.
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