To the Editor:
The following information is particularly offered for reading by lawyers and FOIA officers of surrounding governmental bodies. Further, the news media is also encouraged to know how government bodies can avoid the five busimess day statutory window requirement for FOIA requests.
On Nov. 9, the Collinsville FOIA officer Kim Wasser received a request for emails the members sent to the chairman of the Economic Development Commission. Five days later on Nov. 16, requester was notified that under the Act, Section 140/3(e) the time to respond was extended for another five days.
The reason given was the records were stored in whole or in part at a different location. The suppporting facts for the above reason were that the requested documents are not stored on site and are not available through their computers as the chairman of the committee does not have a city-sponsored email address.
Finally, the chairman was out of town and not available to retrieve the requested items, therefore an additional five business days was necessary. Then, five business days later I was informed the records requested were available.
The current law can be abused.
At a public meeting., Economic Development Commission chairman Kevin Weinacht had requested the members to send him email suggestions. He should have known better, as well as the 10 members that did reply.
Maybe John Bitzer, Jesse Wrigth and Jim Wright knew better since they did not reply. Those that did reply were Matt Wyatt, Dr. Cindy Manjounes, Kai Redman, Dr. Robert Green, Cindy Warke, Wendy Valenti, Joe Haggerty, Renee LaBruyere, David Jerome and Lori Belknap.
A banner group with a noble cause apparently failed to realize they were conducting the people's business that demands transparency. Hopefully other public bodies will take note.