By: Diane Benjamin
The City of Bloomington still doesn’t believe laws matter.
From the Attorney General’s website:
It is the public policy of this State that public bodies exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business and that the people have a right to be informed as to the conduct of their business.
– Illinois Open Meetings Act, 5 ILCS 120/1.
Pursuant to the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of government, it is declared to be the public policy of the State of Illinois that all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts and policies of those who represent them as public officials and public employees consistent with the terms of this Act. Such access is necessary to enable the people to fulfill their duties of discussing public issues fully and freely, making informed political judgments and monitoring government to ensure that it is being conducted in the public interest.
– Illinois Freedom of Information Act, 5 ILCS 140/1.
FOIA requests are simply an inconvenience to the City of Bloomington. The Bloomington government thinks “for and by the people” means government tyranny instead of Open and Transparent. Their goal for all FOIA requests is to figure out a way to deny providing information.
The General Assembly hereby declares that it is the public policy of the State of Illinois that access by all persons to public records promotes the transparency and accountability of public bodies at all levels of government. It is a fundamental obligation of government to operate openly and provide public records as expediently and efficiently as possible in compliance with this Act.
I filed this FOIA request in August:
Next time you attend a Council meeting and food is laid out in the Fish Bowl, grab some. Have a camera ready to film whoever tries to tell you it’s only for the staff.
It gets worse. I filed another FOIA request for emails. I’m adding what I received to a list for my next lawsuit. Here’s an example: Alderman David Sage asked for information about items on the agenda for a meeting. The only reason I know what he asked about was because of this email:
Below is part of the Sage email I received, the rest looks just like it. Keep in mind that Aldermen are elected to represent their Ward, not the City. Sage’s questions could reveal his opinions that reflect either positively of negatively on his representation of the people who elected him. Citizens have a right to know if their government is acting in their best interest.
Parts of the Sage email weren’t redacted – the entire email was:
The items he was asking about can be found here – City Council questions: http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=11128
Very secret stuff!
If the City wants to avoid future lawsuits it’s time for that “Culture Change” Tari wanted. Retrain your employees to comply with the law and quit thinking citizens are your enemies.
The City is spending money taken from hard-working citizens. Under Renner and this Council, more than ever before.
The City of Bloomington has to be held accountable. Since the local media doesn’t, I will.