Code of Ordinances

of Union County, Illinois.

Ordinance Chapter: Article II - Freedom of Information Policy

(A) If the Coun­ty denies the request, the Coun­ty shall noti­fy the per­son mak­ing the request in writ­ing of:

  1. the deci­sion to deny the request;
  2. the rea­sons for the denial, includ­ing a detailed fac­tu­al basis for the appli­ca­tion of any exemp­tion claim;
  3. the names and titles or posi­tions of each per­son respon­si­ble for the denial;
  4. the right to review by the Pub­lic Access Coun­selor and the address and phone num­ber for the Pub­lic Access Coun­selor; and
  5. he right to judi­cial review.

If an exemp­tion is claimed, then the denial must include the spe­cif­ic rea­sons for the denial, includ­ing a detailed fac­tu­al basis and a cita­tion to sup­port a legal authority.

(B) If the Coun­ty asserts an exemp­tion under Sub­sec­tion (1)(c) or (1)(f) of Sec­tion 7 of the Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act, it shall, with­in the time peri­ods pro­vid­ed for Respon­dent to request, pro­vide writ­ten notice to the per­son mak­ing the request and the Pub­lic Access Coun­selor of its intent to deny the request in whole or in part.  The notice shall include:

  1. a copy of the request for access to records;
  2. the pro­posed response from the County;
  3. a detailed sum­ma­ry of the County’s basis for assert­ing its exemption.

If the Pub­lic Access Coun­selor deter­mines that fur­ther inquiry is war­rant­ed, the pro­ce­dures set forth in the Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act, as amend­ed from time to time, regard­ing the review of denials shall be applic­a­ble.  Times for response com­pli­ance by the Coun­ty to the request shall be tolled until the Pub­lic Access Coun­selor con­cludes his or her inquiry.

If any record exempt from dis­clo­sure con­tains mate­r­i­al which is not exempt, the infor­ma­tion which is exempt shall be delet­ed and the remain­ing infor­ma­tion shall be avail­able for inspec­tion and copying.

A request for all records with­in a cat­e­go­ry shall be grant­ed unless the request con­sti­tutes an undue bur­den upon the Coun­ty.  Pri­or to deny­ing a request based upon the bur­den­some nature of the request, an oppor­tu­ni­ty to nar­row the request to man­age­able pro­por­tions shall be pro­vid­ed.  If the attempt to nar­row the request fails, the request may be denied because com­pli­ance will undu­ly bur­den the oper­a­tions of the Coun­ty and the bur­den out­weighs the pub­lic inter­est in the infor­ma­tion.  The denial shall be in writ­ing, spec­i­fy­ing the rea­sons why com­pli­ance will be undu­ly bur­den­some and the extent to which com­pli­ance will so bur­den the oper­a­tions of the Coun­ty.  Repeat­ed requests from the same per­son for the same records that are unchanged or iden­ti­cal to records pre­vi­ous­ly pro­vid­ed are prop­er­ly denied under the Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act shall be deemed undu­ly bur­den­some under this Section.

The Coun­ty Clerk shall estab­lish and main­tain a cen­tral file, open to the pub­lic, of all denials of requests for records which shall be indexed accord­ing to the exemp­tion uti­lized to deny a request for records, and to the extent pos­si­ble, accord­ing to the types of records requested.

The Coun­ty Clerk shall deter­mine when the estab­lished fees are sub­ject to waiv­er or reduc­tion because the release of the request­ed infor­ma­tion is in the pub­lic interest.

The Coun­ty shall respond to a request for records to be used for a com­mer­cial pur­pose with­in twen­­­ty-one (21) work­ing days after receipt.  The response shall (1) pro­vide to the per­son mak­ing the request an esti­mate of the time required by the Coun­ty to pro­vide the records request­ed and an esti­mate of the fees to be charged, which the Coun­ty may require the per­son to pay in full before copy­ing the request­ed doc­u­ments, (2) deny the request pur­suant to one (1) or more of the exemp­tions set out in the Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act, 5 ILCS 140/1 et seq., (3) noti­fy the per­son mak­ing the request that the request is undu­ly bur­den­some and extend an oppor­tu­ni­ty to the per­son mak­ing the request to attempt to reduce the request to man­age­able por­tions, or (4) pro­vide the records requested.

Unless the records are exempt from dis­clo­sure, the Coun­ty shall com­ply with a com­mer­cial request with­in a rea­son­able peri­od con­sid­er­ing the size and com­plex­i­ty of the request, and giv­ing pri­or­i­ty to records request­ed for non-com­mer­­­cial purposes.

It is unlaw­ful for a per­son to know­ing­ly obtain a pub­lic record for a com­mer­cial pur­pose with­in dis­clos­ing that it is for a com­mer­cial pur­pose, and any per­son obtain­ing a pub­lic record for com­mer­cial pur­pose with­out dis­clos­ing that it is for a com­mer­cial pur­pose shall be fined in accor­dance with the Coun­ty Code. 

All requests to inspect or copy records or doc­u­ments pre­pared, main­tained or under the con­trol of the Coun­ty shall be made in the fol­low­ing manner:

(A) All requests shall be in writ­ing, shall state with rea­son­able par­tic­u­lar­i­ty what records are to be inspect­ed or copied, shall state whether the records are request­ed for a com­mer­cial pur­pose, and shall be signed by the per­son mak­ing the request.  The request may be, but is not required to be, sub­mit­ted on a form pro­vid­ed by the County.

(B) The writ­ten request shall be sub­mit­ted to the Coun­ty Clerk or to the May­or.  If nei­ther the Coun­ty Clerk nor the May­or is avail­able, the request shall be sub­mit­ted to any employ­ee of the Coun­ty act­ing under the direc­tion of the Coun­ty Clerk.

(C) The Offi­cer receiv­ing the request shall date stamp the request and indi­cate the date by which a response to the request must be made.

(D) Each request for oth­er than com­mer­cial pur­pos­es shall be grant­ed or denied in writ­ing with­in five (5) busi­ness days after its receipt by the Coun­ty, except as here­after stat­ed.  The fail­ure to grant or deny a request with­in five (5) busi­ness days shall oper­ate as a denial, except as pro­vid­ed here­in below.

(E) The time lim­it set forth here­in above may be extend­ed for an addi­tion­al five (5) busi­ness days by notice in writ­ing to the per­son mak­ing the request of the five (5) busi­ness days exten­sion.  The noti­fi­ca­tion shall state the reason(s) for the five (5) busi­ness day’s exten­sion and con­tain a date cer­tain on which the request­ed record(s) will be avail­able.  The fail­ure to grant or deny a request with­in the addi­tion­al five (5) busi­ness days shall oper­ate as a denial.  The per­son mak­ing the request and the Coun­ty may agree in writ­ing to extend the time for com­pli­ance for a peri­od to be deter­mined by the par­ties.  If the per­son mak­ing the request and the Coun­ty agree to extend the peri­od for com­pli­ance, a fail­ure by the Coun­ty to com­ply with any pre­vi­ous dead­lines shall not be treat­ed as a denial of the request for the records.

(F) Charges for copies of records and/or doc­u­ments shall be imposed in accor­dance with the following:

  1. No fees shall be charged for the first fifty (50) pages of black and white, let­ter or legal sized copies requested.
  2. Fif­teen Cents ($0.15) for one-sided page for each black and white, let­ter, legal sized or 11” x 17” copy requested.
  3. One Dol­lar ($1.00) for each cer­ti­fied copy requested.
  4. Ten Cents ($0.10) for each audio recording.

(G) It shall be the respon­si­bil­i­ty of the per­son mak­ing the request to pick up the request­ed doc­u­ments at the Coun­ty­Build­ing.  If the per­son mak­ing the request asks the Coun­ty to mail the doc­u­ments, he or she shall pro­vide the Coun­ty with his/her cor­rect mail­ing address so as to effi­cient­ly process all requests.  Copies of records request­ed to be mailed will be for­ward­ed Unit­ed States Cer­ti­fied Mail to the address pro­vid­ed.  Pre-pay­­­ment of Two Dol­lars Fifty Cents ($2.50) per ounce shall be required.

(H) When a per­son requests a copy of a record main­tained in an elec­tron­ic for­mat, the Coun­ty shall fur­nish it in the elec­tron­ic for­mat spec­i­fied by the per­son mak­ing the request, if fea­si­ble.  If it is not fea­si­ble to fur­nish the pub­lic records in the spec­i­fied elec­tron­ic for­mat, then the Coun­ty shall fur­nish it in the for­mat in which it is main­tained by the Coun­ty, or in paper for­mat at the option of the per­son mak­ing the request.

The Coun­ty shall promi­nent­ly dis­play at the Coun­ty Clerk’s office, dis­play on its web­site, make avail­able for inspec­tion and copy­ing, and send through the mail as request­ed, each of the following:

(A) A brief descrip­tion of the Coun­ty, which will include, but not be lim­it­ed to a block dia­gram giv­ing its func­tion­al depart­ments, the total amount of its oper­at­ing bud­get, the num­ber and loca­tion of all of its sep­a­rate offices, the approx­i­mate num­ber of full and part-time employ­ees and the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and mem­ber­ship of any board, com­mis­sion, com­mit­tee or coun­cil which oper­ates in an advi­so­ry capac­i­ty rel­a­tive to the oper­a­tion of the Coun­ty, or which exer­cis­es con­trol over its poli­cies or pro­ce­dures; and

(B) A brief descrip­tion of the meth­ods where­by the pub­lic may request infor­ma­tion and pub­lic records, a direc­to­ry des­ig­nat­ing the Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion offi­cers, the address where request for pub­lic records should be direct­ed, and the fees relat­ing thereto.

(A) The Coun­ty Admin­is­tra­tive Assis­tant is here­by des­ig­nat­ed to act as Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Offi­cer.  The Offi­cer shall receive requests sub­mit­ted to the Coun­ty under the Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act, insure that the Coun­ty responds to requests in a time­ly fash­ion, and issue respons­es under the Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act.  The Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion offi­cer shall devel­op a list of doc­u­ments or cat­e­gories of records that the Coun­ty shall imme­di­ate­ly dis­close upon request.

(B) Upon receiv­ing a request for a pub­lic record, the Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Offi­cer shall:

  1. Note the date the Coun­ty receives the writ­ten request;
  2. Com­pute the date on which the peri­od for response will expire and make a nota­tion of that date on the writ­ten request;
  3. Main­tain an elec­tron­ic or paper copy of the writ­ten request includ­ing all doc­u­ments sub­mit­ted with the request until the request has been com­plied with or denied; and
  4. Cre­ate a file for the reten­tion of the orig­i­nal request, a copy of the response, a record of writ­ten com­mu­ni­ca­tions with the per­son mak­ing the request, and a copy of oth­er com­mu­ni­ca­tions regard­ing the request.

(C) The Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act offi­cers shall suc­cess­ful­ly com­plete an elec­tron­ic train­ing cur­ricu­lum to be devel­oped by the Pub­lic Access Coun­selor in the office of the Attor­ney Gen­er­al of the State of Illi­nois and there­after suc­cess­ful­ly com­plete an annu­al train­ing pro­gram.  There­after when a new Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion offi­cer is des­ig­nat­ed by the Coun­ty, that per­son shall suc­cess­ful­ly com­plete the elec­tron­ic train­ing cur­ricu­lum with­in thir­ty (30) days after assum­ing the posi­tion.  Suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion of the required train­ing cur­ricu­lum with­in the peri­ods pro­vid­ed shall be a pre­req­ui­site to con­tin­ue serv­ing as a Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion officer.

To the extent required by the Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act, 5 ILCS 140–1 et seq. the Coun­ty shall make avail­able to any per­son for inspec­tion or copy­ing all pub­lic records, except as oth­er­wise pro­vid­ed in Sec­tion 7of the Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act, 5 ILCSA 140/7.