A couple of weeks ago on January 24th, I asked for the last two year’s legal expenses for the 708 Mental Health Board.
I asked that this information be provided by email, specifically writing, “Thanks for fulfilling this request via email.”
On January 30th, I was told that the Board had invoked an allowed additional five business days to get the information together.
I picked up a stack of legal fee documents on February 7th. I was told that the information was not available in an electronic format.
On February 8th, I asked for an emailed copy of the cover letter, which listed all of the legal expenses by date and vendor.
It arrived February 13th, but in a format which I could not copy and paste for you to read.
I have just sent the following email to the 708 Board:
“Given your board president’s statement that you are a transparent agency, let me re-phrase my request for an emailed copy of the transmittal letter accompanying your reply to my FOIA request for legal fees.
“I am looking for a version with a format that I can copy and paste into McHenry County Blog. From previous responses from other governments, I know that PDF can be made so that it can be copied or protected. You have not sent the version that allows it to be copied on a line by line basis.
“So, I request that the PDF copy you sent me be re-sent in an unlocked version or, my preference, that you send me the version that probably was typed into a Word document in the first place.
“Again, if you feel the need to consider this an FOIA request, please do so.”
The letter was 17 pages long and will probably bore most readers, but its contents will show you how much of your tax dollars are spent on legal fees by the Mental Health Board.
Today Kevin Craver has written a long article about Donna Kurtz’ Public Health Committee’s reappointment interview of 708 Board President Lee Ellis. It is well worth reading.
I found particularly interesting the uncertainty of the administrative expenses of the 708 Board–“from 8.7 percent of the budget in 2008 to 19 percent in 2012.”
Also of interest in the fact that money borrowed at interest rates subsidize by the Federal government’s stimulus program have to be paid back with local tax dollars as a result of “almost quadrupled[ly] the size of its Crystal Lake headquarters through $3 million in federal economic stimulus bonds it now is paying back.”