Public Access Opinion 16-005

Failure to Respond to a FOIA Request

Freedom of Information Act - FOIA
Case: Public Access Opinion 16-005
Date: Tuesday, July 26, 2016

For the fourth time this calendar year, the PAC has told public bodies they must respond to FOIA requests. An individual submitted a seven-part FOIA request to a Village for various positions, names and salaries of Village employees and contractors, as well as billing and payments made to contractors or received from legislative counsel. The Village did not respond to the FOIA request within five business days, extend its timeline for a response under Section 3(e), notify the FOIA requestor that the Village was treating the request as voluminous in accordance with Section 3.6, or deny the request in writing. The Village then repeatedly failed to respond to subsequent requests by the Public Access Bureau that it respond to the FOIA request. The PAC ordered the Village to immediately provide all records responsive to the FOIA requester, subject only to any permissible redactions under Section 7. Again, the bottom line here is that public bodies must respond to FOIA requests within the time permitted per statute.

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