By: Diane Benjamin
This isn’t the first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last for the City of Bloomington employees to not care about the law. Lavish salary and benefits frequently make people think they aren’t answerable to the people who make both happen. Bloomington employees feel entitled to secrecy and therefore do not follow the law. Thank Tari Renner – laws are immaterial to him. (Remember when he announced art work was being sold out of his mayoral office? https://blnnews.com/2014/05/05/pay-to-play-okay-if-nobody-prosecutes/) He knows nobody will prosecute.
Back on April 28th I wrote about Bloomington’s failure to respond to a FOIA request for missing records: https://blnnews.com/2017/04/28/foia-goes-unanswered/
The FOIA had been filed on March 27th. I used the words: “I am requesting the following information under the Freedom of Information Act”.
By law the City had 5 days to respond. They failed to answer the FOIA or request an extension. The missing documents were still missing a month later.
I emailed the City attorney Jeff Jurgens on April 28th. He responded that he would look into it. Crickets! On May 5th I emailed him again asking if he would prefer a lawsuit.
The same day I finally received a response from the City:
The original FOIA was filed on March 27th. On May 5th they finally forwarded my list of missing links to the webmaster? Where did they get the list to forward? The story I wrote about their failure or my original FOIA request?
The second paragraph is hilarious. They didn’t respond because I ended the FOIA request with: “I do not need copies of these documents if the links on the website get fixed.”
The City still had FIVE days by law to respond – either with an extension request or the links fixed. The FOIA request was due April 3rd, not whenever they felt like doing it.
Bloomington obviously has no intention of following the law.
However, I just checked and the links are now working. I didn’t check every link on the new website, the question now is how many others don’t work? I found the original list by accident. I was doing research and what I was looking for was missing.
Transparency is merely a joke Tari Renner used to win an election. Hiding information is now their personal law.
I think Bloomington has to pay the Springfield law firm $60,000 + every month just to keep them out of trouble. Keep in mind Tari appointed people to his Downtown Task Force before the Council approved creating one: https://blnnews.com/2017/05/03/taris-downtown-task-force/