Freedom of Information Request for Walt Packard Performance Evaluations Hits MCC Nerve

Remember how the teachers’ unions got the performance evaluation part of the Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s Freedom of Information Act reform law repealed earlier this year.

I figured that there was one performance evaluation that a lot of people in McHenry County would find of interest—that of former McHenry County College President Walt Packard.

You remember.

Walt Packard floating gently down from his McHerny County College presidency.

The guy with the very golden parachute.

So I filed an FOI request on May 17th. MCC took the maximum amount of time to reply, knowing that there was a bill to strip the FOI Act of any citizen right to discover how public employees’ performance was evaluated.

So, let me share MCC’s “let’s run out the clock” and hope Governor Pat Quinn, that man with the flagging reputation for transparency response from our nontransparent junior college.

The reply points out that Packard’s service as President ended on Feb. 26, 2009. They don’t point out that he is on the payroll until the end of this month. They put it in politer terms.

There is a four-page document evaluating his performance from June 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008.

But you and I can’t see ANY of it,

“because it contains personal information, which if disclosed, would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

The denial letter then quotes Section 7(1)(c) of the Freedom of Information Act thusly,

an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy means “…the disclosure of information that is highly personal or objectionable to a reasonable person and which the subject’s right to privacy outweighs any legitimate public interest in obtaining the information.”

I don’t know about you, but considering taxpayers are taking about a $200,000 hit for keeping Packard on the payroll from the time he was put into emeritus status—which seems to mean “get paid a lot for no work product”—until the end of this month, I think that creates a pretty big “legitimate public interest in obtaining the information.”

It might help explain why our McHenry County College Board allowed us to be fleeced (with apologies for former Unites States Senator William Proxmire’s Golden Fleece Award).

The letter points out that Packard’s emeritus status ends June 30, 2010, but conveniently ignores the following from its own press release:

Dr. Packard will also continue to be enrolled in the College’s medical, dental, and vision insurance plans through June 30, 2010, and upon his retirement as President Emeritus, the College will pay the Board’s percentage share of the premium cost of health insurance coverage for Dr. Packard and his spouse for the period from July 1, 2010 through August 21, 2012.” (Emphasis added.)

More “legitimate public interest in obtaining the information.”


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