This gymnast’s trampoline back flip you see from my son’s 11th birthday party is nothing compared to the one that the McHenry County College Board Freedom of Information attorney signaled this morning.
MCC attorney Joseph Perkowski of the Chicago firm of Robbins, Schwartz, Nicholas, Lifton & Taylor, Ltd., told me this morning that he had been told to call to alert me that the board would consider my and the Northwest Herald’s appeal to the college’s refusal to release the details of ex-President Walt Packard’s honey pot contract, which, AFTER the election, was revealed to contained 3 1/2 years of health benefits (through July 21, 2011!).
Causing the change of mind was the Illinois Supreme Court decision that came down in a Wheaton Warrenville Unit School District 200 Freedom of Information case in which a 2005 school board candidate filed an FOI request for the superintendent’s contract.
Chicago Tribune reporters David Kidwell and Bob Goldsborough pulled out this direction from the decision:
“is to be accorded liberal construction.”
In this instance, “liberal” doesn’t offend me.
The school superintendent, Gary Catalani was only being paid $380,000.
The school board explained after the decision that it had defended the secrecy “in order to protect the personal privacy of its administrators and staff.”
The Tribune article revealed that the school board had wasted (no, that’s wasn’t in the article, but certainly is true) $62,000 on legal fees.
So, Thursday night, even though its law firm doesn’t think the FOI decision was “on point” because the college’s denial didn’t assert the same reason that Wheaton Warrenville did, the board is going to consider giving it up.
The rejection letters to me and the Northwest Herald asserted the contract contained “confidential and personal information,” Perkowski told me.
With the decision already been made to throw ex-President Packard’s privacy to the wind, I wonder if the MCC Board will waste more money by having Perkowski drive out to Crystal Lake.
I assume the college pays for the time it takes its Chicago lawyers to drive to and from Crystal Lake, but, we’ll never know because the college refuses to identify separately what is billed for handling Freedom of Information requests.