Randall J. Bourdages
James Elliott Jr.
Elva Town Hall
16029 Walker Drive
Dekalb, IL 60115
10315 Keslinger Rd.
Dekalb, IL 60115
Introduction to the state Freedom of Information (FOIA)
Under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140), records in possession of public agencies may be accessed by the public upon written request.
Afton Township must respond to a FOIA request within five (5) business days after Afton Township receives the request. Day one (1) of the five (5)-day timeline is the first business day after the request is received. If additional time is needed, the Afton Township FOIA Officer must notify the requestor in writing within five (5) business days after the receipt of the request. The statutory reasons for the extension and when the requested information will be produced shall be stated in the notification.
What Records may be requested?
Pursuant to 5 ILCS 140, Section 2 (c), a public record is any records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, electronic data processing records, electronic communication, recorded information and all other documentary materials pertaining to the transaction of public business, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been prepared by or for, or having been or being used, received, in possession of or under the control of any public body.
Some records are, however, not available for disclosure via the FOIA process; these types of records are described under Section 7 of FOIA, specifically 5 ILCS 140, Section 7 (1) (a) through (y) and Section 7.5 (Statutory Exemptions). Some FOIA disclosures may also be restricted by confidentiality provisions imposed by other state and federal statutes. The FOIA process does not supersede applicable statutory or judicial mandates concerning confidentiality, proprietary business/trade matters, a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy matters, etc. This act is not intended to be used to violate individual privacy, nor for the purpose of furthering a commercial enterprise, or to disrupt the duly-undertaken work of any public body independent of the fulfillment of any of the rights of the people to access to information (5 ILCS 140/1). Unless information falls within an express statutory exemption, it must be disclosed under FOIA (5 ILCS 140/3).
Denial of a FOIA Request
A person whose request to inspect or copy a public record is denied by a public body may file a request for review with the Public Access Counselor established in the Illinois Office of the Attorney General not later than 60 days after the date of the final denial. The request for review must be in writing, signed by the requester, and include (i) a copy of the request for access to records and (ii) any responses from the public body (5 ILCS 140/9.5).
The Attorney General appointed Sarah Pratt to the position of Public Access Counselor. Her contact information is:
Public Access Counselor
Office of the Attorney General
500 S. 2nd Street
Springfield, Illinois 62701
Fax: (217) 782-1396
FOIA Requests may be denied. For more information, see the Attorney General's website and 5 ILCS 140/7.
Randy J. Bourdages
FOIA Requests may be denied for the following reasons (5 ILCS 140/7):
1. Private information – “Private information” is exempt from disclosure under FOIA. FOIA defines “private information” as “unique identifiers, including a person’s social security number, driver’s license number, employee identification number, biometric identifiers, personal financial information, passwords or other access codes, medical records, home or personal telephone numbers, and personal e-mail addresses.” Under FOIA, “private information also includes home addresses and personal license plate numbers, except as otherwise provided by law or when compiled without possibility of attribution to any person.”
2. Personal information that, if disclosed, would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, unless the disclosure is consented to in writing by the person who is the subject of the information. Under FOIA, the “unwarranted invasion of personal privacy” means the “disclosure of information that is highly personal or objectionable to a reasonable person and in which the subject’s right to privacy outweighs any legitimate public interest in obtaining the information.” Disclosing information that relates to the public duties of public employees is not considered an invasion of personal privacy.
3. Law enforcement records that, if disclosed, would interfere with a pending or reasonably contemplated proceeding or that would disclose the identity of a confidential source.
4. Information that, if disclosed, might endanger anyone’s life or physical safety.
5. Preliminary drafts or notes in which opinions are expressed or policies are formulated, unless the record is publicly cited and identified by the head of the public body.
6. Business trade secrets or commercial or financial information that is proprietary, privileged or confidential and disclosure would cause competitive harm to the person or business.
7. Proposals and bids for any contract, until a final selection is made.
8. Closed or Executive Session meeting minutes.
9. Requests that are unduly burdensome.
A: Your request must be in writing and clearly describe the information being sought. Use of the FOIA request form is not required, but recommended, to assure accurate contact information [i.e., name, address, telephone, email, etc.], for certification purposes if needed, and to help direct your request promptly. You can fax your request to 815-756-4255 or transmit your request via email here.
A: The response time for a FOIA request is 5 or 21 business days. Most FOIA responses are provided within 5 business days after receipt of the request. The response time can be extended automatically for 5 additional business days, and/or by mutual agreement between the requestor and AFTON TOWNSHIP. For “commercial” request, the response time for a FOIA request is 21 business days after receipt of the FOIA request. The 2010 FOIA defines a FOIA request for “commercial purposes” [5 ILCS 140/1 et seq.] in those instances where “use of any part of the public record or records, or information derived from public records, in any form for sale, resale, or solicitation or advertisement for sale or services.” Request by news media, non-profit, scientific or academic organizations are generally not considered to be for “commercial purposes.” Afton Township 10315 Keslinger Road • DeKalb, Illinois 60115 Phone 8157564255 • Fax 815-756-4255 www.aftonshiptownship.org.
A: The response time for a FOIA request is 5 or 21 business days. Most FOIA responses are provided within 5 business days after receipt of the request. The response time can be extended automatically for 5 additional business days, and/or by mutual agreement between the requestor and AFTON TOWNSHIP. For “commercial” request, the response time for a FOIA request is 21 business days after receipt of the FOIA request. The 2010 FOIA defines a FOIA request for “commercial purposes” [5 ILCS 140/1 et seq.] in those instances where “use of any part of the public record or records, or information derived from public records, in any form for sale, resale, or solicitation or advertisement for sale or services.” Request by news media, non-profit, scientific or academic organizations are generally not considered to be for “commercial purposes.” Afton Township 10315 Keslinger Road • DeKalb, Illinois 60115 Phone 8157564255 • Fax 815.756-4255 www.aftonshiptownship.org.
A: The basic charge for copying black/white paper documents is $0.15 per page if more than 50 pages. The first 50 pages are provided at no cost. Color copy or oversize copy [i.e. larger than standard 8×11 or 8×14 paper] may involve a greater fee equivalent to the actual commercial cost for reproduction. The basic fee for records on compact disc is $5.00 per disc. For commercial requests, there is a charge of $10 per hour if more than 8 hours are expended by Afton Township staff for searching/retrieving records. Afton Township will charge actual costs for retrieval/transporting public records from any offsite storage facility. For records search that require a search design to access Afton Township database records, you should discuss the scope of the search with Afton Township to assess the cost-effectiveness of a search design and/or a manual records search. Do not send any pre-payment checks with your FOIA request. If a fee is charged, Afton Township will notify the requestor of the charge. Once payment is received, the requested information will be sent out. Payment by credit card or debit card is not allowed. Payment is required by check or money order payable to “Afton Township.” No documents will be sent until receipt of payment.
Can I obtain a waiver or reduction of the FOIA fees if I need the documents to represent myself pro se in a legal proceeding or as a citizen interest group appeal?
A: The guidelines for waiver or reduction of fees regarding pro se legal proceedings, for indigent person[s], or for civil legal service provider[s] are governed by the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5 et seq.). Afton Township may waive or reduce fees if the specific purpose of the FOIA request and the fee waiver or reduction is in the public interest and are not for the principal purpose of “personal or commercial benefit.” The criteria for fee reduction or waiver are further discussed under Section 6 [c] of the amended FOIA, 5 ILCS 140/6 [c]. Such requests for fee waiver or reduction should be detailed in the FOIA request when submitted.
A: Pursuant to Section 9.5 of the amended FOIA, 5 ILCS 140/3.5, you can file a Request for Review in writing to the Public Access Coordinator in the Illinois Attorney General. You must file no later than 60 days after the denial. The Request for Review must be signed and include a summary of the facts supporting your allegation of error. These review procedures are further described in Section 9.5[b] through [g], and also in Section 11.5 of the amended FOIA, 5 ILCS 140/9.5 and 11.5 et seq. Any person denied access to inspect or copy any Afton Township record may also file for injunctive or declaratory relief before the circuit court for DeKalb County, Illinois, or before the circuit court for the residence of the requestor, as provided in Section 11 of the amended FOIA, 5 ILCS 140/11.
A: Personal identity information, such as addresses, date of birth, social security number, driver license, etc. are redacted and withheld from disclosure pursuant to the FOIA provisions concerning non-disclosure of “personal information” and “private information”, as defined, 5 ILCS 140/1 et seq Afton Township 10315 Keslinger Road• DeKalb, Illinois 60115 Phone 8157564255 • Fax 815.756-4255 www.aftontownship.org.
Can I receive the requested information by electronic data transfer or by express overnight mailing?
A: Requested records can be provided by express overnight mailing, if so requested and if a prepaid mailing envelope or express delivery account number is provided with the FOIA request. In certain instances, the Housing Authority can arrange for electronic data transfer.
A: If you wish for your FOIA documents to be certified, include your request for certification, or send an Affidavit with your request for signature. Afton Township cannot certify your FOIA documents after the materials have been sent to you.