Attending the May 18 board meeting of the Mississippi Valley Library District was much different than the meeting of the Collinsville Memorial Library Board I attended more than 15 years ago. Barbara Rhodes was the librarian then and now is the director as well as the FOI officer.
Prior to attending the district meeting, I felt a FOI request was mishandled, then found failure to comply with other state statutes. Part of five different statutes were read at the meeting:
Comply with or deny a request within five business days;
Shall prominently display a description of the methods whereby the public may request public records, a directory designating the FOI officer, where requests should be directed and fees allowable;
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The public body may elect to redact information that is exempt;
Any person may record by tape, film or other means and the authority holding the meeting shall prescribe reasonable rules;
All records relating to obligation, receipt and use of public funds are subject to inspection and copying.
Board Chairman Tom Wells, with gavel in hand, tried to start a dialogue with me that did not end well. He was told he was way off base for even talking to me.
I believe FOI requests nurture transparency, and a transparent government is a better government. Those who want a better government should consider making FOI requests.