Alderman, Do You Care to Share with the Rest of Us?

Well, now, looky here:

Communications which pertain to the transaction of public business, and are sent or received on personal electronic devices during city council meetings or study sessions fall within the definition of “public records” under FOIA. In the interest of full disclosure to the public, denying the records would be inconsistent with the General Assembly’s intention in enacting FOIA. Additionally, the Attorney General noted that not requiring the city to produce the records would allow any public body to completely circumvent the requirements of FOIA by conducting public business on private equipment.

The binding opinion was issued by the Office of the Illinois Attorney General November 15.

It all started with a Freedom of Information request by a reporter with The News-Gazette who believed that Champaign city council members were receiving electronic comments during city meetings that affected “…their formulation of opinions and consequently their votes…”

Sound familiar? We all know a certain alderman who habitually texts during DeKalb council meetings.

Editorial on the AG’s opinion