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Public Access Opinion 20-002

Duty to Respond to FOIA Requests

Freedom of Information Act - FOIA
Case: Public Access Opinion 20-002
Date: Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Kankakee County (County) violated Section 3(d) of FOIA by failing to respond to a FOIA request.

On October 21, 2019, Requestor emailed a FOIA request to the County, seeking copies of agreements between the County and World Fuel Services, Inc., as well as any ordinances/resolutions passed by the County authorizing any agreement and/or amendment between them. Requestor did not receive a response to his request.
On October 30, 2019, Requestor submitted a Request for Review to the PAC, alleging that the County failed to respond to his FOIA request. On November 7, 2019, the PAC forwarded a copy of the Request for Review to the County and asked the County whether or not it had received and responded to Requestor’s request. The County did not respond to the PAC. The PAC sent another letter to the County on December 3, 2019, and the County again failed to respond. Finally, on December 12, 2019, the County emailed Requestor stating the County was still “trying to locate” responsive records and apologizing for the delay. As of the date of this binding opinion, neither the PAC nor Requestor received a response from the County.

Section 3(d) of FOIA states that “each public body shall, promptly, either comply with or deny a request for public records within 5 business days after its receipt of the request…” Because the County did not comply with Section 3(d), the PAC ordered the County to take immediate and appropriate action to provide Requestor with all records responsive to his request, subject only to permissible redactions.

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