Saturday, April 3, 2010

Hush, Hush

We wish we'd thought to run this on April Fool's Day, but it's no joke.

A reader points out:

In response to Illinois’s new, more transparent, Freedom of Information (FOIA) laws that went into effect on January 1, 2010, Chicago has unveiled its new FOIA webpage. What’s new? The city now keeps secret the names and phone numbers of its FOIA officers.


  1. (5 ILCS 140/4) (from Ch. 116, par. 204)
    Sec. 4. Each public body shall prominently display at each of its administrative or regional offices, make available for inspection and copying, and send through the mail if requested, each of the following:
    (a) A brief description of itself, which will include, but not be limited to, a short summary of its purpose, a block diagram giving its functional subdivisions, the total amount of its operating budget, the number and location of all of its separate offices, the approximate number of full and part‑time employees, and the identification and membership of any board, commission, committee, or council which operates in an advisory capacity relative to the operation of the public body, or which exercises control over its policies or procedures, or to which the public body is required to report and be answerable for its operations; and
    (b) A brief description of the methods whereby the public may request information and public records, a directory designating the Freedom of Information officer or officers, the address where requests for public records should be directed, and any fees allowable under Section 6 of this Act.
    (c) A public body that maintains a website shall also post this information on its website.
    (Source: P.A. 96‑542, eff. 1‑1‑10.)

  2. I wonder if I can use FOIA to learn who the FOIA officers are?

  3. you can, but you shouldn't have to

  4. Foia is such a joke. Huge waste of taxpayer money. You can just ask.

    Also, if you release the name of FOIA officers, you have all these crazy people stalking them.

  5. The way the City of Chicago and Chicago Park District interprets and administers the FOIA laws is a joke. Other communities actually try to be transparent.

    The City of Chicago recently refused records to me because the records were kept on computer instead of hard copy. I had to contact the department's FOIA officer and read the section of the law that specifically says that records cannot be refused simply because they are in automated form. I don't think Chicago's FOIA officers are even trained or bother to read the law.