Let’s just say “avoiding FOIA” is on purpose

By: Diane Benjamin

Or, Normal could have a really lousy FOIA retrieval system.

Or, Normal doesn’t keep good records.

Or, Normal is hiding information.

Or, Normal just does things this way because that’s the way they’ve been done for decades – it’s a secret.

Start with my FOIA pertaining to Normal doing the accounting work for a vendor they purchase insurance from. This was my request:

This is part of their response, one would think this cozy arrangement would at least be in writing to protect taxpayers, but NO:

Refer to these 2 stories for the rest: https://blnnews.com/2022/07/07/normal-and-the-mica-fleece/ and https://blnnews.com/2022/07/14/normals-mica-vrs-bloomingtons-gallagher/

I’m not done writing about MICA, but I’m moving on to yet another FOIA from this week.

Because of the sign curfuffle at the last Council meeting and mention by Koos of receiving complaints about signs, I filed this FOIA – Time Frame: 7/1/21-7/5/22

I did receive 3 “sign complaints” filed on line – two of them have nothing to do with changes to the sign ordinance:

I believe the names were illegally redacted, comments made to the Town on line are no different than public comment where names are disclosed.

But then I received this pertaining to email searches that should be included in the FOIA:

In case that is too tiny, they claim their search produced 234,559 emails. Either Normal’s sign complaints are out of control or they expect me to tell them how to search their system for emails that actually pertain to the FOIA request.

In ONE YEAR the Town only had one actual report filed on line complaining about a sign. What staff proposed is much more than aligning to the 2015 Supreme Court case, anybody want to bet there are no complaints by email?

Why did it take SEVEN YEARS Brian Day to change the ordinance?

I think Normal needs more FOIA practice!






5 thoughts on “Let’s just say “avoiding FOIA” is on purpose

  1. I could believe the Supreme Court ruling was the reason for language that was removed BUT, the drastic NEW restrictions, with no documented complaints and no court mandate, to me, means the NEW restrictions are based purely on someone’s personal agenda.

    The staff write up identifies Pam Reece as the “Prepared by” person. An honest person would openly and transparently disclose if this were their idea or if they were “persuaded” aka coerced to bring this forward. I expect the public will get NO transparency NOR honesty about who dreamed this up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If they want to narrow it down, have them just provide the emails where Reece is the sender/receiver. I would guess that she reviews the proposals and would get the real reason explained for the signs. However, as she is learning there is oversight to try and keep her accountable, one must ask how many conversations now happen via telephone call or in-person meeting.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It sounds to me as though Normal NEEDS A LOT of things to get them straightened out…and the voters need to start removing the ‘dead wood’ and vote in people with good old common sense, honesty, and respect for their TAX PAYING citizens!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Normal won’t give you the info because they don’t want the truth coming out and they know the council doesn’t have the balls to make them release it. Normal’s corruption has become an embarrassment, it is a regular topic of conversation around the water cooler.


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