UPDATE: Normal FOIA fail

Normal claims they have a right to redact the names of FOIA Requesters:

foia request

Normal did not include PAC documents and only binding opinions are published.  Since a PAC Binding resolution Year and Number wasn’t cited, that claim is illegitimate.

The court case cited is from 2004.  https://caselaw.findlaw.com/il-court-of-appeals/1165157.html

The case was in Chicago and covers different issues than simply asking for a list of all FOIA Requests.

I find it hilarious that Normal will pull out old case law to avoid providing information while IGNORING obvious law concerning public comment.  Normal continues to ban citizens from speaking about items not on the agenda.

Since Normal ignores laws they don’t like, their opinions are immaterial.

One more note:  FOIA and Open Meetings Law have been evolving since originally written.  The changes are toward more open and honest government.  2004 was 16 years ago, one court’s ruling could be completely immaterial now.

By:  Diane Benjamin

Since I am frequently accused of filing too many FOIA’s with the Town of Normal, I filed another one!

I requested a list of all FOIA’s filed in the last 12 months.  What I received was 107 pages of mostly redacted information.  They actually think the names of FOIA requestor’s are private information.  They aren’t.

My name is listed 38 times, but you need to know what I was forced to request because that information is not available on their website.  The Town of Normal could drastically cut down on FOIA requests by just being more transparent.

Here’s some examples:

Documents used by the Council during the 1/16/2020 budget work session

From the May 6, 2019 Council Packet – Copy of WGLT Annual contract referred to numerous times in bills

Lease for Friends of Dan Brady office

Copy of the December 6, 2016 MOU executed with IDOT, UPRR, and Town of Normal

The workbook used by Council members at the October 28-29th planning session

The Economic Impact – Project review – Destihl Portillos Fiala Brothers .docx document Pam Reece sent to Chris Koos and Kathleen Lorenz on September 1, 2019

1) The last 12 visitor reports submitted by Terri Ryburn 2) The appraisal Pam Reece completed for 101 E Vernon and the 2 attached acres.

All emails/attachments pertaining to the ISU Art Gallery located at 11 Uptown Circle. All rental/occupancy agreements for the gallery

Total overtime paid for FY 2019

1) Copy of the Town’s Ethics Ordinance for employees and elected officials as required by law 2) Name of the Town’s Ethics Officer

Full copies of Form 990 prepared by Town officials for the Children’s Discovery Museum Foundation – this request is for the last 3 years of filed forms.

Lease for second floor space at 1 Uptown Circle, common area charges

This one is pretty funny – they considered what I FOIA’d an invasion of privacy for me to know what I FOIA’d:

funny redact

WGLT requested information 7 times.  The Chicago Tribune wanted details of any hate crimes arrests.  The Pantagraph is mentioned once, since the requestor is redacted I can’t say if they requested the information or were just mentioned.

I have another FOIA request that is past due.  If I don’t get the emails pertaining to what they have already sent, I will have to devise information based on what I have been told.  They have that FOIA marked as completed on their website.  It isn’t.

I know what they are hiding, taxpayers should know too.

See all 107 pages here:  FOIA Requesters Normal

6 thoughts on “UPDATE: Normal FOIA fail

  1. Not sure all their intended redactions worked. Looking at the foia upload, one can see several client names that were not redacted.

    Professional staff ?

  2. It’s amazing how few requests are made by the local media. It’s as if they already have the story. No need to research when it’s already prepackaged and hand-delivered with a bow.

    1. Speaking of local media, did anyone else notice the extensive write-up, with photos, in the Pantagraph about the art gallery which was discussed at Monday’s Town Council meeting? Seems the communications director had to do damage control.

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