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Gazette Democrat v. Southern Illinois University, NO. 4-06-1014 (Ill.App.4th Dist. 2007)

Employment Contracts

Administrator Contracts
Case: Gazette Democrat v. Southern Illinois University, NO. 4-06-1014 (Ill.App.4th Dist. 2007)
Date: Thursday, August 16, 2007

In August 2006, plaintiffs, Jerry Reppert and the Gazette Democrat, filed a complaint against defendants, Southern Illinois University (SIU) and SIU chancellor Walter V. Wendler, seeking disclosure of the employment contacts of several SIU employees. The Plaintiffs argued that the FOIA compelled disclosure of the requested documents. Defendant, SIU prevailed in the trial court; however the 4th District appellate court reversed in favor of the Gazette Democrat. The court held that the statutory definition of “public record” included the information contained in the employment contracts at issue in the case stating that contrary to defendants' (SIU) suggestion, the mere fact that personnel files are per se exempt from disclosure ... does not mean that the individual contracts are also per se exempt simply because they are kept in those files. The court declined to follow Copley Press in as much as it purported to include an employment contract as exempt from FOIA.