Public Access Opinion 19-006

Duty to Respond to FOIA Requests

Freedom of Information Act - FOIA
Case: Public Access Opinion 19-006
Date: Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Village of Dolton (Village) violated FOIA by failing to comply with, deny in whole or in part, or otherwise appropriately respond to a FOIA request. On April 9, 2019, the Requestor submitted a FOIA request for various records pertaining to collective bargaining between the Village and unions over various years. Receiving no response by May 21, 2019, the Requestor contacted the PAC. The PAC sent a letter to the Village on May 28, 2019 but received no response. The PAC then left a voicemail message for the Village’s FOIA officer on July 25, 2019. The FOIA officer returned the call, verified that the Village had received the FOIA request, but stated it could not provide a timeframe for responding to the FOIA request due to the volume of records involved. As of July 25, 2019, the PAC had not received a written response from the Village nor confirmation from the Requestor that he had receive a response to his April FOIA request from the Village.

The PAC held that the Village violated Section 3(d) of FOIA by failing, within five business days after receiving the April 9, 2019 FOIA request, to provide the requested records, extend the time for its response pursuant to Section 3(e) of FOIA, or deny the request in whole or in part. The PAC ordered the Village to provide the Requestor with all records responsive to his FOIA request.

This opinion is binding only to the parties involved and may be appealed pursuant to State law.