About six years ago the public access counselor in the Illinois Attorney General’s office was given the power to settle complaints for both the Freedom of Information and Open Meetings acts. According to the Illinois Municipal Review from 2010 through 2013, complaints almost doubled and the time for many decisions took more than a year.
Madison County Assistant State’s Attorney John McGuire has made decisions for me over the last several years. On March 13, I emailed McGuire asking him to message the Collinsville Library to comply with the law that says its website has to state how to make online FOIA requests. In just a few days I was informed that the library now complies.
On March 17 I made a request for the employees’ 2014 W-2 forms. In 15 minutes District Director Barbara Rhodes replied, stating, “I need further explanation of your request.” The act requires responses to be complied with or denied within five business days and as of this writing, there has been noncompliance for 23 days.
The 2014 W-2 form for Rhode’s wages was $72,550. Considering one-third more for benefits, that puts her cost to the taxpayers at $97,000.
Libraries are tax supported so transparency is quite important.