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

Bianchi to Represent Nygren in Zinke Exoneration Freedom of Information Case

That was my takeaway from the hearing in Judge Thomas Meyer’s courtroom today. To put it in terms contained in the law book and an Illinois Supreme Court ruling, the lawyer for the Sheriff’s Department is the State’s Attorney. The … Continue reading

Zinke Job Recommendatons Top Secret, Hush, Hush

Working on a tip that Undersheriff Andy Zinke had given some interesting job recommendations, McHenry County Blog filed Freedom of Information requests for those which he signed since he became Sheriff Keith Nyren’s top assistant. Three were provided, but with … Continue reading

Judge Meyer Rules Nygren & Leist Get Attorney for Zinke DEA Investigation Report Case

Judge Thomas Meyer ruled Friday morning that McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren and his legal affairs officer Don Leist will have an appointed attorney to represent them in The First Electric Newspaper‘s suit to make public an over 100-page investigatory … Continue reading

Judge Seems to Threaten Keith Nygren (Defending Andy Zinke) and Don Leist with Decision in Freedom of Information Suit

According to Pete Gonigam in a First Electric Newspaper story, Judge Thomas Meyer seems to be getting perturbed by his inability to find an attorney on a public payroll to take Keith Nygren’s side in refusing to release an over … Continue reading

Closing In on the Number Involved in McHenry County College Security Security Number Breach

As you might imagine, when I learned that McHenry County College software vendor Ellucian had sent Social Security numbers and other personal information to three junior colleges which MCC refused to identify (but you can discover here), I thought you … Continue reading

McHenry County College Refuses to Tell How Many Social Security Numbers Were Compromised

A while ago, I filed a Freedom of Information request with McHenry County College with regard to the security breach by software vendor Ellucian. Among other things, I asked for documents that would tell how many student and employee records … Continue reading

Reply to Freedom of Information Request for Authorization to Use Sheriff’s Office Email Account for Campaign Purposes

Ten days ago, I filed a Freedom of Information request with the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department asking the following question: “Under the FOIA I request all documents that authorize Andy Zinke to use his official email for campaign purposes.” The … Continue reading

Suit Seeking to Force Keith Nygren to Follow Attorney General’s FOIA Recommendation to Release 100-Page Zinke DEA Report Delayed

First Electric Newspaper Editor Pete Gonigam filed a Freedom of Information request with the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department seeking documents about the investigation of Undersheriff Andy Zinke’s telling someone whose firm was getting a delivery which was apparently subject of … Continue reading

Sheriff’s Department Freedom of Information Games

It was the discovery of more marijuana growing in the Hebron area in a press release issued by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department that reminded me of the August 2008 and August 2009 discoveries of three pot fields, some of … Continue reading

First Electric Newspaper Learns Undersheriff Andy Zinke Misconduct Exoneration Made by Campaign Supporter Sheriff Keith Nygren

When the announcement was made to the Northwest Herald that Underheriff Andy Zinke had been cleared of wrongdoing when he told a subject about a Drug Enforcement Administration probe, it sounded more than a little fishy. Pete Gonigam, who publishes … Continue reading

McHenry County College Explains Why Health & Fitness Club Study Is Top Secret, Hush, Hush

Woodstock attorney Jane Collins wondered what backed up the power point presentation (see Part 1 and Part 2) given to the McHenry County College Board about the proposed Health & Fitness Club, plus almost doubling the size of the classroom … Continue reading

Citizens/Media Can Get Public Officials’ Arrest Records

Our family went to Galena mid-week and, besides seeing skiers on Spring Break for the first time at Chestnut Ridge, I found a press release from the Public Access Division of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. It was in The … Continue reading