DeKalb Township reports it’s inundated with FOIA requests


I’ve finished another section of video from last week’s regular meeting of DeKalb Township. This time, I watched the board moan its way through the latest report of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The township supervisor says they’re spending so much time responding to requests, there’s a possibility the township may have to hire another person to help handle them.

The General Assembly recognizes that this Act imposes fiscal obligations on public bodies to provide adequate staff and equipment to comply with its requirements. The General Assembly declares that providing records in compliance with the requirements of this Act is a primary duty of public bodies to the people of this State, and this Act should be construed to this end, fiscal obligations notwithstanding.

Illinois Freedom of Information Act, Section 1

If DeKalb Township does have to come up with the money to hire another person, the suffering is entirely self-inflicted. The township didn’t have to remove documents from its website that had previously been accessible, and they didn’t have to lie about the reason for pulling them. It’s unprofessional conduct that has drawn new scrutiny.

Clip of the FOIA report (about 5-1/2 minutes) is here.

Lastly, let me correct misinformation that’s in the clip. The FOIA officer certainly can direct a requester to the website if the information sought is actually there.

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