The stalling tactics of McHenry County College didn’t work.
You may remember that I filed a Freedom of Information request for the performance evaluations of ex-President Walt Packard.
You remember him.
The one sent packing Feb. 26, 2009 with no explanation, but with a golden parachute that kept him on the payroll through this summer and he and his sick wife on tax-paid health benefits through August 21, 2012, according to the MCC press release.
That’s three and a half years.
The reason given for hiding this man’s performance evaluations follows:
“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.”
Now comes Public Access Division Assistant Attorney General Matthew Sebek telling the college that it has not met its burden of proof in its lawyer-prepared denial.
“Evaluations of public employees directly address the manner in which public employees perform their public duties. Public bodies use these evaluations to determine the public duties of public employees for purposes of Section 7(1)(c) of FOIA. Accordingly, disclosure of such evaluations would not constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”
The letter goes on to say,
“We further note that MCC’s citation to Section 24A-7.1 of the Illinois School Code and House Bill 5154, in support of its 7(1)(c) assertion, is unpersuasive.”Section 24A-7.1 of the Illinois School Code, which exempts from disclosure performance evaluations for certain public educators is simply not applicable to MCC, which, as a community college, is governed b y the Public Community College Act [citation given] and not the School Code.”
Is that a smack down of MCC law firm Robbins, Schwartz, Nicholas, Lifton & Taylor or what?
But there’s more.
“With respect to House Bill 5154’s proposed amendment of Section 11 of the Personnel Record Review Act to exempt performance evaluations of public employees, that Bill was amendatorily vetoed by the Governor on July 26, 2010 in a manner that significantly limits the scope of that legislative change to certain law enforcement personnel.
“In accordance with this letter, MCC may release the requested records to the requester.”