Althoff Comments on FOIA Modification Bill She Sponsored

From State Senator Pam Althoff: In response to recent e-mails and phone calls I have received regarding my yes vote on House Bill 3796, I would like to explain why this legislation, will in fact, increase access to public records … Continue reading

Gonigam Gets Permission to See Summary of Zinke Exoneration Report

Because the sound system is so bad, I can’t be sure what was said in the courtroom of Thomas Meyer Thursday morning. But I think he ruled that the Sheriff’s Office had waived its right to use an excuse in … Continue reading

Chicago Police Department Reticent to Provide Misbehaving Officer’s Photo

When the neighbor across the way from the castle in Fox River Grove got irritated by people parking on the street, she turned to a neighbor from Boone County’s Candlewick Lake subdivision for help. The neighbor jotted down the license … Continue reading

Legislature Set to Override Freedom of Information Restriction Veto

Governments like to keep secrets. It’s an attribute ingrained in the beast. Even outsiders elected to office vowing transparency get pushed in the direction of keeping information from the public. The local governments have gotten together and convinced our state … Continue reading

Nunda Township Loses Freedom of Information Appeal on Senior Bus Audit

At the request of Deputy County Administrator John Labjai (now retired), McHenry County Auditor Pam Palmer performed an audit on Nunda Township’s senior bus program. It was financed with a grant administered by McHenry County.  Federal and state money was … Continue reading

FOI Reply To Threat Documents Finally Arrives, No Threats Documented

The Friday before last (August 1st) after the close of business I filed a Freedom of Information request with the Village of Oakwood Hills for documents that showed that there had been threats against village officials. It should have been … Continue reading

Argument for Putting Tax-Financed Not-Profits Under the Freedom of Information Act

Since the 1970’s I’ve been promoting putting not-for-profit organizations financed with taxpayer dollars or controlled by governments under the Freedom of Information Act. Now the head of the Freedom of Information enforcement agency in Pennsylvania tells the Chicago Sun-Times it … Continue reading

MCC Secrecy on 10,000 Person Data Breach Costs $5,700

Ever since early last August, when student Melissa Denker sent  me a copy of the letter she received from McHenry County College regarding the compromising of her personal identifiers by college consultant Ellucian, I searched for the number of students … Continue reading

Tax-Financed Non-Profit Transparency

“Not.” That’s the best word to use when talking about transparency of most not-for-profit organizations. If they are financed with government money, however, I have argued since the 1970’s that they should be subject to the Freedom of Information Act. … Continue reading

General Assembly Moves to Limit Freedom of Information Requests

Proponents of transparency are up in arms about efforts by legislators to limit access under the Freedom of Information Act. They point to House Bill 3796. The legislation, passed by both the House and the Senate during the last week of … Continue reading

Nunda Township Road Commissioner Hiding Audit of Senior Bus Services

McHenry County Auditor Pam Palmer conducted an audit of the grant to the Nunda Township Road Commissioner for Senior Bus Service. Since County government was responsible for awarding the money, it seems appropriate that the Auditor should see if it … Continue reading

The Jail Report that the Sheriff’s Department Doesn’t Want the Public to Read

Prior to the election, I filed a Freedom of Information request for the report that Joseph Summerill prepared for the Sheriff’s Office and presented to the County Board. In the comment sections of some of the following articles, many people … Continue reading

The First Electric Newspaper’s Case for Making Sheriff’s Department’s Report on Andy Zinke’s Rita Corp. Actions Public

Here’s something to chew on for the weekend. It’s attorney Mary Gardner’s memo on behalf of The First Electric Newspaper‘s attempt to enforce a Freedom of Information request filed for the investigative report by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department’s exonerating … Continue reading

Zinke Doesn’t Have to Disclose Names of Those for Whom He Wrote Letters of Recommendation

This letter, received December 6, 2013, from the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Division tells why: Via electronic mail Mr. Cal Skinner 275 Meridian Street Crystal Lake, Illinois 60014 [email protected] Ms. Jan Weech FOIA Off’lcer Offìce of the McHenry County … Continue reading

Sheriff Has No Policy about Who Can Fill Up at County Expense

There have been reports that vehicle appearing not to be owned by McHenry County have been filling their tanks at the Sheriff’s Department filling station. I decided to ask if there were any policy concerning fill-ups: “Under the FOIA, I … Continue reading