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March 09, 2010

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Jim Boo

Belcaster Realty Group received payments of $35,231 from the PDLG in the fiscal year ending April 30, 2009 per the PDLG Annual Statement.

Joe Bagodonuts

So you criticize the Park District for not following the act, but when the act clearly states that they can't release home addresses, you complain about that too.

Sounds like you are never happy and it is a no win situation for the Park District. No matter what they do, you will complain.

How about congratulating them for following the Act and not giving out those home addresses?

Thom Rae

Joe,

Nowhere does the Illinois FOIA state that public bodies are required to withhold home addresses or other "exempted" personal information, except when mandated by some other law.

The law's only requirement is that all documents be accessible to the public unless an exemption applies.

Release of most exempted information is at the discretion of the governing body, and they tend to err on the side of caution, generally making public only information that is not exempted.

But note that, in the case of home addresses, the FOIA specifically states that the exemption does not apply if "otherwise provided by law."

As the Illinois Park District Code states that "[e]ach member of the governing board of any park district shall [...] be a legal voter of and reside within such district," I would argue that disclosing home addresses in this case is a useful and appropriate way to inform the public of the applicants' eligibility to hold the public office to which they seek appointment.

Any additional information submitted by the applicants stating their reasons and qualifications for appointment to the board also would be of value to the public, in the same manner as information provided by a candidate seeking to the fill board a seat through the public election process.

The Park District denied my FOIA request for that information on the basis that it did not provide the applicants with a form to fill out and therefore no relevant documents existed.

Information does not have to be entered into a standardized form in order to be considered an application.

For example, a letter submitted to the Park District by Jim Boo, and copied to me by Mr. Boo, requesting consideration and listing his qualifications can hardly be disallowed as an "application" just because it does employ not a standardized and, in this case, non-existent form.

A copy of Mr. Boo's letter should therefore have been provided to me in response to my FOIA request, along with any similar documents submitted by the other applicants.

I'm hoping that the Park District's law firm, Ancel Glink, which handles its FOIA requests, simply misinterpreted my choice of words. I've been playing phone tag with the designated attorney, but hope the matter can be easily resolved when we connect.

If not, it is my intention to refer the matter to the Public Access Counselor in the Illinois Attorney General's Office, an option the law provides.

Perry Sweet

I strongly support Jim Boo being appointed to the Park District Board. Jim would do a great job for the LaGrange Park District and the citizens of LaGrange.

William Dobias

If it is true, as rumored, that all but Jim Boo applied after the Mar. 1 deadline, it will be interesting to see how Tim Kelpsas avoids appointing him

Chris Walsh

Bill:

The law requires that the replacement take place by majority vote of the board (excluding the departing member). This means in the PDLG case that a minimum of three votes (of four) would be needed. Even if (contrary to fact) the PDLG were obligated to consider only a single individual who made his interest known by an arbitrary "deadline", the Board is under no obligation to actually vote on whether to install the person; and even if there were such an obligation, the motion would still need to pass.

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