An August 8, 2019, email from the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor’s Office. It is thirteen pages long and is reproduced in full so others may read it.
RE: FOIA Request for Review — 2018 PAC 55448
Dear Mr. Skinner and Mr. Richart:
This determination letter is issued pursuant to section 9. 5( 0 of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) ( 5 ILCS 140/ 9. 5( 1) ( West 2016)). For the reasons that follow, the Public Access Bureau concludes that Community High School District No. 155 ( District) improperly redacted the names of employees who opted out of paying union dues and fees from the records provided in response to Mr. Cal Skinner’ s FOIA request. [Emphasis added.]
On October 15, 2018, Mr. Skinner submitted a FOIA request to the District seeking copies of “the documents that instruct District 155 to stop deducting union dues.” FNI
On October 16, 2018, the District responded that it had answered a similar FOIA request the previous month and that the responsive records were posted on its website.
On that same date, Mr. Skinner replied that the District had posted letters from employees with the employees’ names redacted, and that he sought those names.
On October 23, 2018, the District denied his request for those names under sections 7(1)( b), 7(1)( c), and 7(1)( p) of FOIA (5 ILCS 140/ 7( 1)( b), (1)( c), (1)(p) (West 2017 Supp.), as amended by Public Act 100- 732, effective August 3, 2018).
The District also asserted that it was not required to disclose the names because ” union affiliation is a private matter between a member and the union that does not pertain to the transaction of public business, as is required by FOIA’ s definition of ‘public records’ ( 5 ILCS 140/ 2( c) ( West 2016)). FN 2
On October 23, 2018, Mr. Skinner submitted the above-captioned Request for Review contesting the District’ s redaction of the employees’ names.
He enclosed a sample of the redacted form letters that were posted on the District’s website.
The letters state that the employee has resigned from the union and revoked any authorization to deduct union dues or fees; both the employee’ s signature and printed name are redacted from each letter. FN 3
On October 30, 2018, this office sent a copy of the Request for Review to the District and asked it to provide this office with a detailed explanation of the legal and factual bases for redacting the names.
On November 14, 2018, this office received the District’ s answer, together with “a supporting brief provided by the Illinois Education Association with the support of both of the District’ s local union affiliates [( Local Associations)].” FN 4
The following day, this office forwarded a copy of the District’s answer to Mr. Skinner; he did not submit a reply.
Under FOIA, “[a] ll records in the custody or possession of a public body are presumed to be open to inspection or copying.” 5 ILCS 140/ 1. 2 (West 2016).
A public body has the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence” that information it withholds is exempt from disclosure. 5 ILCS 140/ 1. 2 ( West 2016).
The exemptions from disclosure are to be construed narrowly. Lieber v. Board of Trustees ofSouthern Illinois University, 176 Ill. 2d 401, 407 ( 1997). Public Records Section 2( c) of FOIA defines “public records” as:
all records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, maps, photographs, microfilms, cards, tapes, recordings, electronic data processing records, electronic communications, recorded information and all other documentary materials pertaining to the transaction of public business, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been prepared by or for, or having been or being used by, received by, in the possession of, or under the control of any public body.
In accordance with this definition, the court in City of Champaign v. Madigan, 2013 IL App 4th) 120662, ¶ 38, 992 N.E. 2d 629, 638 ( 2013) stated that ” to qualify as a ‘ public record’ under FOIA, a communication must
(1) ‘ pertain(] to the transaction of public business’ and have either been
(2) prepared by,
(3) prepared for,
(4) used by,
(5) received by,
(6) possessed by, or
(7) controlled by a public body.”
A record pertains to the transaction of public business when it pertain[s] to ‘business or community interests as opposed to private affairs.’
Indeed, FOIA is not concerned with an individual’ s private affairs.” City of Champaign, 2013 IL App ( 4th) 120662, ¶31, 992 N.E.2d at 637 ( internal citation omitted).
In its answer to this office, the District argued that “[a] n employee’ s name in this context does not relate to the transaction of public business or qualify as a public record[.]” FN 5
Seeking to distinguish the records at issue from records relating to public funds, which are expressly subject to disclosure under section 2.5 of FOIA ( 5 ILCS 140/ 2. 5 (West 2016)), FN 6 the District asserted that “the money at issue is no longer public funds, but personal employee income.” FN 7
The District, however, did not redact monetary amounts from the records, it redacted District employees’ names from the form letters the employees submitted to the District.
It is undisputed that the forms were received by and possessed by the District; the District argued that the forms nonetheless do not “pertain[ ] to the transaction of public business” because they concern private decisions about union membership.
Although union membership is a relationship between an individual and a union, the forms were submitted to the District for the purpose of altering how it performs payroll deductions.
Payroll administration is part of the District’ s public duties. Therefore, the District used the forms in its transaction of public business. FN 5 Letter from Steven M. Richart, Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn LLP, to Joshua M. Jones, Deputy Bureau Chief, Public Access Bureau, Office of the Attorney General ( November 14, 2018), at 8. FN 6 Section 2. 5 of FOIA provides: ” All records relating to the obligation, receipt, and use of public funds of the State, units of local government, and school districts are public records subject to inspection and copying by the public.”
As additional support for its argument that the forms do not qualify as public records, the District cited a pre-authorization letter ( I11. Att’)/ Gen. PAC Pre- Auth. all 3034, issued March 25, 2011) issued under a previous version of FOIA.
Because this letter served as initial guidance rather than a final determination, it is not precedential.
In addition, that letter concerned the redaction from an employee’ s paystub of amounts of money withheld for state and federal taxes, rather than employees’ names or union membership decisions.
The District also cited Chicago Alliance for Neighborhood Safety v. City of Chicago, 348 III. App. 3d 188, 209, 211 ( 1st Dist. 2004) (quoting Lakin Law Firm, P.C. v. F.T.C., 352 F. 3d 1122, 1124 ( 7th Cir. 2003)), in which the Illinois Appellate Court stated that ” the core purpose of the FOIA is to expose what the government is doing, not what its private citizens are up to.”
In Chicago Alliance, the court held that the names and addresses of FOIA requesters who had requested information from the Chicago Police Department were exempt from disclosure under section 7( 1)( c) of FOIA because the Act ” was not designed to provide information about private individuals seeking access to information regarding the affairs of government.”
Chicago Alliance, 348 I11. App. 3d at 212- 13. The case did not concern whether any records qualified as public records under FOIA, nor did it concern the names of public employees.
Thus, although the District cited Chicago Alliance to support its claim that it properly redacted “personal information of citizens making private financial or political decisions” because “to do otherwise could make citizens reluctant to make such financial decisions for fear of retaliation or other detriment from publication[,] FN 9 the concern in Chicago Alliance about a chilling effect that would dissuade members of the public from using FOIA is irrelevant to whether the employee names the District redacted were within the scope of FOIA.
Because the forms were possessed by the District and used by the District in its transaction of public business, they are public records subject to disclosure unless covered by an applicable exemption. Section 7( 1)( b) of FOIA Section 7( 1)( b) of FOIA exempts from disclosure “[p] rivate information, unless disclosure is required by another provision of this Act, a State or federal law or a court order.”
Section 2( c- 5) of FOIA ( 5 ILCS 140/ 2(c- 5) ( West 2016)) defines ” private information” as:
[U] nique identifiers, including a person’ s social security number, driver’ s license number, employee identification number, biometric identifiers, personal financial information, passwords or other access codes, medical records, home or personal telephone numbers, and personal email addresses. Private information also includes home address and personal license plates, except as otherwise provided by law or when compiled without possibility of attribution to any person.
In a binding opinion (Ill. Att’y Gen. Pub. Acc. Op. No. 12- 003, issued January 18, 2012), the Attorney General explained the following with respect to the meaning of “unique identifiers” for purposes of section 2( c- 5) of FOIA:
The examples of ‘unique identifiers’ cited in section 2( c- 5) include information, such as a social security number, that is alone sufficient to identify a particular individual, as well as information which is both unique to an individual and of a type in which there is a significant personal privacy interest, such as medical or financial records. Ill. Att’ y Gen. Pub. Acc. Op. No. 12- 003, at 7.
Conspicuously absent from the above definition of “private information” is any reference to a person’ s name.
Although names are unquestionably “personal information” in the sense that they are specific to particular persons (see Lieber, 176 Ill. 2d at 411), they are neither confidential nor unique. Instead, names are “basic identification,” and, as the Illinois Supreme Court concluded in Lieber, “[[w]here the legislature intended to exempt a person’ s identity from disclosure, it [has done] so explicitly.” Lieber, 176 I11. 2d at 412.
Therefore, by excluding names from the definition of “private information,” the General Assembly clearly did not intend for names to be exempt from disclosure under section 7(1)( b) of FOIA.
The District, however, argued to this office that the names are exempt from disclosure in this context because they are coupled with the employees’ decisions to opt out of paying union dues and fees and therefore qualify as “personal financial information.”
The District cited two pre-authorization letters1° for the proposition that “information which may not typically be protected from disclosure by an exemption can become exempt ‘when coupled with other information.'” I I True as this may be in some circumstances, section 7( 1)( b) still requires a showing that the information qualifies as a ” unique identifier.”
The District also referenced Ill. Att’y Gen. PAC Req. Rev. Ltr. 23275, issued March 1, 2013, FN 12 in which this office determined that an employee’ s zip code was not required to be disclosed in connection with an employee’s name, claiming that it evinces ” the coupling of two otherwise non-exempt pieces of information created a privacy concern where it did not previously exist and caused Section 7( 1)( b) to apply.” FN 13
Yet, this contention overlooks the difference between the first sentence of the definition of “private information,” which unconditionally exempts certain unique identifiers, and the caveat in the second sentence: “Private information also includes home address and personal license plates, except as otherwise provided by law or when compiled without possibility of attribution to any person.” (Emphasis added.)
In 2013 PAC 23275, the basis for this office’ s conclusion that zip codes were exempt from disclosure was that disclosing employees’ zip codes in connection with their names would enable requesters to use the internet and other readily-available resources to find the employees’ full home addresses, which would be directly attributable to them.
In contrast, the disclosure of the names in the context of the form letters would not reveal “private information” within the scope of section 7( 1)( b).
The District has acknowledged that employee names alone are not exempt from disclosure, but has not demonstrated how the context of the form letters could somehow convert the names into personal financial information.”
Unlike a person’ s bank account statement, which may be withheld as “personal financial information” pursuant to section 7( 1)( b) because it sets forth financial information unique to the individual, the forms are boilerplate, and the only information for which the exemption is claimed is employee names; the District granted that ” the contribution amounts currently deducted are uniform among similarly situated employees[,]” and that dues amounts are not exempt from disclosure. FN 14
Although disclosing the names would reveal that certain employees have decided to stop paying union dues and fees and therefore have kept that compensation for themselves instead, it would not reveal any uniquely identifying information concerning their personal finances. Accordingly, the District did not sustain its burden of demonstrating by clear and convincing evidence that the names are exempt from disclosure pursuant to section 7(1)( b). 15 Section 7( 1)( c) of FOIA Section 7( 1)( c) of FOIA exempts from disclosure “[p] ersonal information contained within public records, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, unless the disclosure is consented to in writing by the individual subjects of the information.”
An “unwarranted invasion of personal privacy” is defined as “the disclosure of information that is highly personal or objectionable to a reasonable person and in which the subject’ s right to privacy outweighs any legitimate public interest in obtaining the information.”
Moreover, “[t] he disclosure of information that bears on the public duties of public employees and officials shall not be considered an invasion of personal privacy.”
A public body s assertion that the release of information would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy is evaluated on a case-by- case basis.
Chicago Journeymen Plumbers’ Local Union 130 v. Department ofPublic Health, 327 I11. App. 3d 192, 196 ( 1st Dist. 2001).
The phrase “clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy” evinces a strict standard to claim the exemption, and the burden is on the public body having charge of the record to prove that standard has been met.
Schessler v. Department of Conservation, 256 I11. App. 3d 198, 202 (4th Dist. 1994).
Illinois courts consider the following factors in determining whether disclosure of information would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy:
(1) the plaintiffs interest in disclosure,
(2) the public interest in disclosure,
(3) the degree of invasion of personal privacy, and
(4) the availability of alternative means of obtaining the requested information.” National Ass’ n of Criminal Defense Lawyers v. Chicago Police Department, 399 Ill. App. 3d 1, 13 ( 1st Dist. 2010).
Under the first factor of the four-factor balancing test, while Mr. Skinner did not expressly articulate his interest in disclosure, this office is cognizant that Mr. Skinner is the proprietor of a local news and opinion blog, and that FOIA requests such as this one are among the methods he uses to access and publicize information concerning the affairs of government. FN 16
The District did not address Mr. Skinner’ s personal interest, but argued that ” releasing specific identities of which employees are or are not currently contributing money to the union serves no public interest. FN 17
The District, however, later cited Janus v. American Federation of State, County, & Municipal Employees, Council 31, U. S., 138 S. Ct. 2448 ( 2018), in which the U.S. Supreme Court analyzed the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (IPLRA) (5 ILCS 315/ 1 et seq. (West 2016)).
Under that Act, a public employee in a position represented by a union was required to pay the union a fee— known as an ” agency fee” or ” fair share fee”— even if the employee did not wish to become a union member ( by paying full union dues). Janus, U. S. 138 S. Ct. at 2460.
The Supreme Court held that “States and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees[,]” striking down the provision of IPLRA that authorized automatic deductions of agency fees from non-union members’ wages. Janus, U. S., 138 S. Ct. at 2486.
The administration of former Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner “launched a government website where workers in public-sector unions could learn about how to change their union status and avoid paying dues. FN 18
Mr. Skinner submitted his FOIA request a few months thereafter.
It is clear that Mr. Skinner’ s request concerned the ramifications of the Janus decision, a matter of profound public interest.
Counsel for the Illinois Education Association FN 19 and Local Associations submitted an extensive argument in support of the District’s position “due to the importance of these issues and due to their interests in protecting the rights of their members.” FN 20
The District, however, noted that it was “not attempting to prevent disclosure of the number of employees who are dues-paying union members, or the rate at which the union’s dues-payments is increasing or declining, or the overall amounts of membership dues to union treasuries. FN 21
Arguably, the thrust of the public interest in the ramifications of Janus is in such aggregate data rather than in information reflecting individual employee decisions.
Nonetheless, the public interest in which particular employees opted out of paying union dues and agency fees in the District is not insignificant, as this information could be used to assess patterns and form the basis for further inquiries about the impact of Janus on public employee union activity and the personnel repercussions for public bodies.
As to the degree of invasion of personal privacy, the District argued that it is highly objectionable to a reasonable person for a public body to disclose information concerning how an employee spends personal income:
Mandating disclosure of a citizen’s personal pocketbook serves only to invade personal privacy, akin to forcing individuals to allow the public to stare over their shoulders as they withdraw their paycheck from the ATM and go about spending their income at the grocery store or otherwise spending or donating as they decide. FN 22
This is not an apt comparison.
The disclosure of the names of employees on the forms would not reveal information as personal as employees’ bank account details or grocery store purchases.
While opting out of paying union dues and agency fees is a personal decision that may have both financial and political components, an employee’ s decision not to contribute to the union that represents the employee in collective bargaining matters does not meet the high bar of being highly personal or objectionable to a reasonable person to disclose.
Although the District argued that the employees’ speech” in the form of opting out of union dues and agency fees would be chilled by the disclosure of their names, just as revealing the complainants’ identifying information in Chicago Alliance would have dissuaded members of the public from submitting complaints, the District did not provide support for the notion that any employees are basing their decision on whether to opt out of union dues and agency fees on whether their decision will be confidential.
To the contrary, employees who opt out of paying union dues and agency fees necessarily do so with the understanding that their decision will be known to at least union representatives and likely others in the workplace.
Further, the Janus decision itself does not dictate the result the District seeks, as the First Amendment to the United States Constitution’ s prohibition against compelled speech FN 23 does not apply to the District’ s disclosure of the names on the forms pursuant to FOIA.
Additionally, even if the pre-authorization letters the District cited were precedential, they are clearly distinguishable from the circumstances at issue here.
The pre-authorization letters concern payroll deductions that would reveal private family matters and explanations for requesting time off of work.
The disclosure of information from a personnel file concerning an employee’ s family would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. See, e.g., Ill. Att’ y Gen. PAC Req. Rev. Ltr. 27671, issued June 8, 2015, at 3 concluding that information about an employee’ s family, such as his marital status, number of dependents, and spouse’ s name, was exempt from disclosure under section 7(1)( c)); see also State Journal-Register v. University of Illinois Springfield, 2013 IL App (4th) 120881, ¶ 41, 994 N.E.2d 705, 716 ( 4th Dist. 2013) ( the Illinois Appellate Court stated that it ” fail[ed] to see how public employees] election for the disbursement of accrued vacation, sick leave, and related documents” had any bearing on their public duties).
The opt-out form letters, in contrast, would not reveal any information regarding the employees’ family lives or leave time.
Although decisions about paying union dues and fees may not necessarily bear on the public duties of public employees, such decisions generally have greater public implications than how many dependents an employee has or why an employee requests time off because the degree of employees’ union involvement impacts the nature of their employer-employee relationship.
This matter is also clearly distinguishable from cases that have found the combination of public employee names and home addresses in the context of unions to be exempt from disclosure for personal privacy reasons.
See, for instance, Healey v. Teachers Retirement System, 200 I11. App. 3d 240, 243 (4th Dist. 1990) (holding under a previous, materially different version of FOIA that public body did not improperly withhold “[n] ames, addresses (including zip codes), school district of employment, school name and address, home telephone numbers, number of years ( and credit years) in [the Teachers Retirement System] and status of enrollee (active retired, other)” because personnel file information was per se exempt from disclosure); US. Dep’ t of Defense v. Federal Labor Relations Authority, 510 U. S. 487, 501- 02, 114 S. Ct. 1006, 1015- 16 (1994) ( Federal agency did not improperly deny a request by two unions for home addresses of the agency employees in the bargaining units they represented because disclosure would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy; the public interest in disclosure of the home addresses was negligible and the employees had a privacy interest in avoiding unwanted contacts at their homes).
The form letters at issue here do not contain home addresses but, if they did, the home addresses would plainly be exempt from disclosure under section 7(1)( b).
While disclosing the employees’ names would come with at least some risk of unwanted contact, the predominant concern about employees avoiding intrusions into their home lives is not implicated in this matter.
As to the final factor—the availability of alternative means of obtaining the requested information—it may be possible to ascertain the names of District employees who opted out of paying union dues and fees by speaking with various District employees who might have knowledge of those names.
There does not appear to be an alternative means of obtaining copies of the form letters with the employees’ names left unredacted short of a lawsuit.
On balance, because the employees’ relatively modest privacy interests in their names in the context of the form letters do not outweigh the legitimate public interest in disclosure, the District did not sustain its burden of demonstrating by clear and convincing evidence that the names are exempt from disclosure [emphasis added] pursuant to section 7(1)( c). Section 7( I)( p) of FOIA Section 7( 1)( p) of FOIA exempts from disclosure “[r]ecords relating to collective negotiating matters between public bodies and their employees or representatives, except that any final contract or agreement shall be subject to inspection and copying.”
Because FOIA exemptions must be construed narrowly (Lieber, 176 Ill. 2d at 407), the term “relating to” in a FOIA exemption does not signify an expansive scope.
See Kalven v. City of Chicago, 2014 IL App ( lst) 121846, ¶ 19, 7 N.E. 3d 741, 746-47 ( 2014) (rejecting the contention that the section 70)( n) exemption (5 ILCS 140/ 7(1)(n) (West 2010)) for records ” relating to a public body’s adjudication of employee grievances or disciplinary cases” encompasses investigatory records that precede disciplinary adjudications because such an “expansive interpretation” would “render a broad category of public documents immune [citation] to public scrutiny. That is contrary to the intent of FOIA.”); see also Ill. Att’y Gen. PAC Req. Rev. Ltr. 32159, issued April 20, 2015, at 3 (concluding that because almost every record in possession of the Illinois Department of Corrections arguably relates to security in some manner, section 70)( e) of FOIA, 24 which concerns “[r]ecords that relate to or affect the security of correctional institutions and detention facilities[,]” “applies to records that could jeopardize the security of a correctional institution if disclosed, rather than any records merely pertaining to security in any manner whatsoever.”).
The Attorney General has issued a binding opinion addressing the applicability of section 7(1)( p) to invoices for legal services containing information related to collective bargaining matters. Ill. Att’y Gen. Pub. Acc. Op. No. 14- 002, issued April 15, 2014.
In that binding opinion, the Attorney General examined the exception for collective negotiating matters in the Open Meetings Act (5 ILCS 120/ 2(c)(2) (West 2012)) and noted: “Section 7(1)(p) of FOIA serves the corollary purpose of exempting from disclosure records pertaining to such aspects of the collective bargaining process as the negotiating of wages and salaries, terms and conditions of employment, working conditions, and similar matters which are subject to collective bargaining.” Ill. Att’y Gen. Pub. Acc. Op. No. 14- 002, at 6.
The Attorney General concluded that only the portions of the invoices that contained specific information pertaining to the collective bargaining process could be redacted pursuant to section 7( 1)( p). Ill. Att’ y Gen. Pub. Acc. Op. No. 14- 002, at 9.
Thus, records must reveal aspects of a collective bargaining process to fall within the scope of the exemption.
In its answer to this office, the District argued that the section 7( 1)( p) exemption applies because:
Although the information is not derived from a particular negotiation session, it nonetheless “relates” to collective bargaining and is therefore exempt.
The District’s two collective bargaining agreements (CBA) both contain provisions requiring the District absent an opt -out) to deduct union dues from the paychecks of employee members. [Citation.]
Thus, the names in connection with employees’ requests concerning union dues ” relate” to a collective bargaining matter.
(We note that the statute does not provide that matters relating to collective bargaining negotiations must be “substantive” in order to apply the exemption, and we know of no authority suggesting such a proposition.) FN 25
The District’s argument is not persuasive in that it relies on an expansive interpretation of the term relating” as used in section 7(1)( p).
Disclosing the employees’ names would reveal nothing about the manner in which the District has engaged in any collective bargaining process.
The statement that the District’s collective bargaining agreements require deduction of union dues absent employee opt -outs does not demonstrate that the employees’ names are within the scope of section 7(1)(p) because the disclosure of the employees’ names would not give insight into any collective bargaining strategies, negotiation positions, offers, contract provisions, or other aspects of collective negotiating matters.
Therefore, the District did not sustain its burden of demonstrating by clear and convincing evidence that the names are exempt from disclosure pursuant to section ‘ 7(1)(p). [Emphasis added.]
To remedy its improper denial, this office requests that the District disclose copies of the records to Mr. Skinner without redacting the employees’ printed names Emphasis added.]
The Public Access Counselor has determined that resolution of this matter does not require the issuance of a binding opinion.
This letter shall serve to close this matter.
Should you have questions, please contact me at (312) 814- 8413 or jjones@atg. state. il.us.
Very truly yours,
JOSHUA M. JONES
Deputy Bureau Chief Public Access Bureau
= = = = =
FN 1 FOIA request from Cal Skinner, McHenry County Blog ( October 15, 2018).
FN 2 Letter from Shannon Podzimek, Freedom of Information Officer, Community High School District 155, to Cal Skinner, McHenry County Blog ( October 23, 2018), at 1.
FN 3 The form letters shows that the information above a line labeled ” Signature” and a line labeled Print name” was redacted. The Attorney General has issued a binding opinion concluding that a signature is a unique identifier that may be redacted under section 7( 1)( b) of FOIA. III. Att’ y Gen. Pub. Acc. Op. No. 14- 015, issued November 25, 2014, at 11. Therefore, the issue in this opinion is whether the printed name is exempt from disclosure.
FN 4 Letter from Steven M. Richart, Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn LLP, to Joshua M. Jones, Deputy Bureau Chief, Public Access Bureau, Office of the Attorney General ( November 14, 2018), at 2.
FN 5 Letter from Steven M. Richart, Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn LLP, to Joshua M. Jones, Deputy Bureau Chief, Public Access Bureau, Office of the Attorney General ( November 14, 2018), at 8.
FN 6 Section 2. 5 of FOIA provides: ” All records relating to the obligation, receipt, and use of public funds of the State, units of local government, and school districts are public records subject to inspection and copying by the public.”
FN7 Letter from Steven M. Richart, Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn LLP, to Joshua M. Jones, Deputy Bureau Chief, Public Access Bureau, Office of the Attorney General ( November 14, 2018), at 8.
FN 8 It is important to note that ” pre-authorization” letters were issued pursuant to provisions of FOIA that have since been repealed. Such letters were preliminary in nature and not final determinations of whether specific records were exempt from disclosure. To the contrary, pre -authorization merely required that a public body make a showing that there was a cognizable basis for its proposed assertion of one oftwo exemptions. Accordingly, III. Att’ y Gen. PAC Pre- Auth. a113034 is not dispositive of whether the information at issue comprises a public record.
FN9 Letter from Steven M. Richart, Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn LLP, to Joshua M. Jones, Deputy Bureau Chief, Public Access Bureau, Office of the Attorney General ( November 14, 2018), at 8.
FN 10 Ill. Att’y Gen. PAC Pre-Auth. at 14027, issued May 17, 2011; 111. Att’ y Gen. PAC Pre- Auth. al 12123, issued February 7, 2011.
FN 11 Letter from Steven M. Richart, Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn LLP, to Joshua M. Jones, Deputy Bureau Chief, Public Access Bureau, Office of the Attorney General ( November 14, 2018), at 3.
FN 12 The District cited 2016 PAC 40554, but that matter concerned biometric identifiers and the language the District quoted is from 2013 PAC 23275.
FN 13 Letter from Steven M. Richart, Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn LLP, to Joshua M. Jones, Deputy Bureau Chief, Public Access Bureau, Office of the Attorney General ( November 14, 2018), at 3- 4.
FN 14 Letter from Steven M. Richart, Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn LLP, to Joshua M. Jones, Deputy Bureau Chief, Public Access Bureau, Office of the Attorney General ( November 14, 2018), at 3- 4.
FB 15 This office notes that the District cited multiple pre -authorization letters concerning dependents and family -based payroll deductions in support of its section 7(1)( b) argument that did not involve section 7(1)( b) but section 7(I)( c). Therefore, the District’ s argument concerning those letters will be discussed as part of this office’ s section 7(1)( c) analysis. 1b
FN 16 See III. Att’y Gen. PAC Req. Rev. Ltr. 46249, issued April 14, 2017, at 3- 7 (analyzing whether Mr. Skinner qualifies as ” news media” and concluding that he does).
FN 17 Letter from Steven M. Richart, Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn LLP, to Joshua M. Jones, Deputy Bureau Chief, Public Access Bureau, Office of the Attorney General ( November 14, 2018), at 5.
FN 18 Tina Sfondeles, Fran Spielman, and Lynn Sweet, Rauner administration spreads word on internet about how to change union status, Chicago Sun -Times (July 1, 2018, 10: 34 a.m.), https:// chicago. suntimes.com/ news/ rauner- adm inistrati on- spreads- word- change- uni on -status/.
FN 19 The Illinois Education Association ” is the statewide organization with which hundreds of local labor organizations that represent public school employees throughout Illinois — including the Local Associations — are affiliated.”
FN 21 Letter from Michael H. Slutsky, Allison, Slutsky, & Kennedy, P. C., to Joshua M. Jones, Deputy Bureau Chief, Public Access Bureau, Office of the Illinois Attorney General (November 13, 2018), at 1.
FN 20 Letter from Michael H. Slutsky, Allison, Slutsky, & Kennedy, P. C., to Joshua M. Jones, Deputy Bureau Chief, Public Access Bureau, Office of the Illinois Attorney General ( November 13, 2018), at 3.
FN 21 Letter from Steven M. Richart, Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn LLP, to Joshua M. Jones, Deputy Bureau Chief, Public Access Bureau, Office of the Attorney General ( November 14, 2018), at 5.
FN 22 Letter from Steven M. Richart, Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn LLP, to Joshua M. Jones, Deputy Bureau Chief, Public Access Bureau, Office of the Attorney General ( November 14, 2018), at 6.
FN 23 See Janus, _ U. S. , 138 S. Ct. at 2463- 70. 24 245 ILCS 140/ 7( I)( e) ( West 2013 Supp.), as amended by Public Act 98- 695, effective July 3, 2014.
FN 24 245 ILCS 140/ 7( I)( e) (West 2013 Supp.), as amended by Public Act 98- 695, effective July 3, 2014.
FN 25 Letter from Steven M. Richart, Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn LLP, to Joshua M. Jones, Deputy Bureau Chief, Public Access Bureau, Office of the Attorney General ( November 14, 2018), at 8.