Freedom of Information Act
Summary of Purpose
The Illinois Freedom of Information Act, 5 ILCS 140, requires all public bodies, as that term is defined therein, to make non-exempt public records available for inspection and copying. The City strives to comply with this law and endorses the fundamental concept that all persons are entitled to full, accurate, and complete information regarding the affairs of the City and its official acts and policies. In determining the parameters of public access to information, the City also understands its obligations to protect legitimate privacy interests and maintain the efficiency and security of its administrative operations.
This policy Governing Access to Public Records is established to implement the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. (5 ILCS 140). Pursuant to Section 3 of the Act, the City shall have the authority to promulgate rules and regulations pertaining to the availability of records and procedures to be followed in conformity with the provisions of the Act. The rules established in this subchapter are intended to serve as procedural guidelines for implementing and complying with the Act.
Terms used in this Policy Governing Access to Public Records shall have the same meaning as in the Freedom of Information Act.
"FOIA" means the Freedom of Information Act.
"Act" means the Freedom of Information Act pursuant to 5 ILCS 140.
"FOIA Officer" means the Senior Technician or his/her designee. In the event the FOIA Officer is not available, the Office Manager is designated the Deputy FOIA to whom such initial request are to be made.
"Requestor" means a person who submits a request for public records in accordance with these Policy Rules.
Procedures for requesting public records
Requests for the inspection and copying of non-exempt public records pursuant to the Act may be made in person, between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except on holidays, at the following locations:
Requests for information pertaining to the City and its committees, sub-committees, boards, and commissions shall be submitted to the following address:
201 S. Michigan Avenue
Marshall, Illinois 62441
The City shall also accept FOIA requests received via facsimile, electronic mail, and through the United States mail. The City shall only be responsible for responding to requests that it actually receives and shall not be responsible for transmission or delivery errors for FOIA requests that are submitted through alternative means. Any FOIA request received by the City after normal business hours, as set forth above, shall be considered received on the following business day.
Form and content of requests
All requests for public records must be made in writing, preferably on a City FOIA form. If a requestor is unable to obtain one of these forms, the City will accept any legible written request, provided such request is clearly and concisely stated.
The requestor shall provide the following information in a request for public records:
The requestor’s full name, address and phone number; A brief description of the public records sought, being as specific as possible; and whether the request is for inspection of public records, copies of public records, or both, as well as whether the requestor desires the record to be certified. To ensure that each FOIA request is acted upon in a complete and timely fashion, the requestor should ensure that the public record sought is clearly identified in his or her request. Requestors should provide as much information about the requested record as possible, such as the type of record, approximate date of the record, the department where the record may be located, and any other details that will assist in locating the specific record sought.
If the request is for a COMMERCIAL PURPOSE, the requestor must disclose that fact to the City at the time the request is made. It is a violation of the Act to knowingly obtain a public record for a Commercial Purpose without such disclosure.
Procedures for providing records to requestors
Generally, public records will be made available for inspection at the City Hall, located at 201 S. Michigan Ave, Marshall, Illinois 62441 during the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Unless otherwise arranged, the inspection of records shall take place at each respective office where the records may be located.
Inspection and Copying of Records - During any inspection of records, a requestor shall be prohibited from bringing bags, brief cases or other containers into the inspection room. Documents that the requestor wishes to have copied shall be segregated during the course of the inspection. An employee of the City shall be present throughout the inspection. All copying shall be done by a City employee.
Copies of public records shall be provided to the requestor only upon payment of any charges that are due.
Charges for copies of public records shall be assessed in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140/6). Charges may be waived in any other case where the FOIA Officer, or the designee, determines that the waiver serves the public interest, pursuant to Section 6 of the Act.