The Illinois Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140/1 et seq.) requires all public bodies in the State of Illinois to make non-exempt public records available for inspection and copying. The Naperville Township not only strives to comply with the law, but also fully endorses the fundamental concept that all persons are entitled to full, accurate, and complete information regarding the affairs of the Township and the official acts and policies adopted by Township officials and public employees. The Township recognizes that its desire for active and informed participation of its citizens in the public policy process necessitates as full and as free an access to this information as possible. In determining the parameters of public access to information, the Township also understands its obligations to protect legitimate privacy interests and maintain the efficiency of its administrative operations.
Requests for the inspection and copying of non-exempt public records pursuant to FOIA may be made in person at the Naperville Township administrative offices, 139 Water Street, Naperville, Illinois 60540, Mondays through Fridays, between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 pm, except on holidays. The Naperville Township will also accept FOIA requests received by facsimile, electronic mail and through the United States mail. The Township is only responsible for responding to requests that it actually receives and is not responsible for transmission or delivery errors for FOIA requests that are submitted through these alternative means. Any requests received by the Township after 4:30 pm shall be considered as received on the following business day.
Requests for inspection or copies of public records shall be made in writing. For the convenience of the requestor, the Township provides a form for use in submitting a written request. Use of this form is not required. All requests should state a physical address or email address to which the Township should send its response. The Township will not accept or respond to oral requests for inspection or copies of public records.
To ensure that each FOIA request is acted upon in a complete and timely fashion, the requestor should ensure that the public record being sought is clearly identified in his/her request. Requesters should provide as much known information about the requested record as possible (e.g., type of record, approximate date or record, department where record may be located, etc.). Township is not obligated to respond to requests that are overly broad or that would place an undue burden upon its operation; nor is the Township obligated to interpret or advise requesters as to the meaning or significance of public records that may be provided.
If the request is being made for a commercial purpose, the Township asks the register disclose the fact to the Township at the time the request is made. It is a violation of the Act to knowingly obtain a public record for a commercial purpose with such disclosure.
Pursuant to 5 ILCS 140/6 the Naperville Township has the authority to charge reasonable fees for the duplication and/or certification of public records produced in compliance with FOIA requests. The FOIA officer is given the authority to grant a waiver or reduction of fees for copying records if the requester’s stated purpose is to obtain information regarding the health, safety, and welfare of the general public and is not for the principal purpose of personal or commercial benefit. In determining the amount of any such waiver or fee reduction the Township will also consider the number of records requested and the actual costs of copying.
For each request form filed, citizens shall be furnished with the first fifty (50) pages of black and white, letter or legal sized copies at no charge. Fees will not be waived for the first fifty (50) pages of color copies or copies (either black and white or color) exceeding 8 ½ x 14” unless a waiver or fee reduction is granted by the FOIA officer as a means of furthering the public interest. The FOIA officer shall cause records maintained in electronic format to be furnished to be furnished to a requester in the electronic format specified by the requester, if feasible. The FOIA officer may charge the requester for the actual cost of purchasing the recording medium, whether disc, diskette, tape, or other medium.
Unless otherwise waived, copying fees must be paid in advance of the records being made available to the requester. Fees are as follows:
|8.5" x 11" documents
|8.5" x 14" documents
Fees to copy blueprints, oversized documents, pamphlets, manuals and any other records which are to be copied by an outside service shall be based on the actual costs incurred by the Township, which actual costs shall not be deemed to include “the costs of any search for and review of the records or other personnel costs associated with reproduction of the records.” See 5 ILCS 140/6(b). Information regarding these fees will be provided to the requester before copying. Additional fees for accident records may apply as permitted by law.
In accordance with the Act, the Naperville Township will respond to all non-commercial requests within five (5) working days of receipt. Responses will be provided to any commercial requests within twenty-one (21) working days of receipt. In processing requests for records made under the Act, the Township shall give priority first to any non-commercial requests pending before it. The Township must respond in one of the following methods:
If the requested records are available and determined to be non-exempt, the Township will advise the requester of the documents which are available and the cost to copy the records. For commercial requests, the Township response will include an estimate of the time required to locate and compile the records requested, as well as the estimated fees to be assessed to the requester.
If the requester has asked to inspect the documents, the Township will provide the requester with notice of a time and location in which the inspection will be conducted during normal business hours at the Township’s administrative offices unless another location is otherwise agreed upon by the Township and the requester. The Township may require that an officer or employee of the Township be present during any inspection of public records. A requester may also be prohibited from bringing bags, brief cases, or other containers into the room in which the inspection takes place. Documents made available for inspection will be held for fourteen (14) working days from the date of the Township’s response and thereafter will be re-filed.
Fees for copies of records, unless waived, must be paid prior to inspection and copying. All copying of documents shall be done by an officer or employee of the Township. Upon written request the Township will mail copies of public records to the requester. Upon written request, the Township will email or fax copies of public records to the requester unless emailing or faxing the records is not practical due to the number of pages being provided in response to the request.
Under certain circumstances, the Freedom of Information Act permits the Township to provide notice of an extension of time for response to a request. This time period shall not exceed an additional five (5) working days or a total of ten (10) working days from the receipt of the original request. Any notice of extension must cite the reason why the extension is necessary.
The requester and the Township may agree in writing to extend the time for compliance for a period to be determined by the parties. If the requester and the Township agree to extend the period for compliance, a failure by the Township to comply with any previous deadlines shall not be treated as a denial of the request for records.
Any denial of any part of a request shall be made in writing and shall state the reason(s) for the denial in accordance with Section 3(g), or if the record is determined to be exempt, pursuant to Section 7 of the Freedom of Information Act.
Section 3(g) of the Act allows the Township to deny a request for a category of records if compliance with the request would place an undue burden upon the Township. Before denying a request on the basis of a Section 3(g) exemption the Township will contact the requester to offer him/her an opportunity to confer with the Township in an attempt to reduce the scope of the request to a manageable proportion. Any denial pursuant to Section 3(g) shall specify the reason(s) why it would be unduly burdensome to the Township, and the extent to which the burden upon the operation of the Township outweigh the public interest in the requested information. Repeated requests for the same public records by the same person shall be deemed unduly burdensome and shall be denied accordingly.
Section 7 of the Act enumerates a series of records that are considered exempt from public disclosure and, therefore, need not be produced by the Township.
All full or partial denials of a FOIA request shall include the itemized “Denial Information” set forth below in Section 6 of these Rules and Regulations in the written response to the requester. In accordance with the provisions of the Act, copies of all denials shall be retained by the FOIA Officer and will be indexed according to the type of exemption asserted and, to the extent feasible, according to the type of records requested.
Any requester whose request for information has been denied by the Township may exercise his/her statutory right to petition the Public Access Counselor in the office of the Illinois Attorney General for review of said denial. A request for review must be filed with the Public Access Counselor not later than sixty (60) days after the date of the final denial. Any such request for review must be in writing, signed by the requester, and include copies of the original FOIA request and any responses received from the Township.
Upon receipt of the request for review, the Public Access Counselor shall determine whether further action is warranted. If the Public Access Counselor determines that the alleged violation of the Act is unfounded, he/she shall so advise the requester and the Township and no further action will be taken with respect to the complaint. In all other cases, the Public Access Counselor shall forward a copy of the request for review to the Township within seven (7) working days after receipt and shall specify the records or other documents that the Township shall furnish to facilitate the review. Within seven (7) working days after receipt of the request for review, the Township FOIA Officer must provide copies of the records requested, and shall otherwise fully cooperate with the Public Access Counselor. To the extent that the records produced by the Township for the purposes of review contain information that is claimed to be exempt, the Public Access Counselor shall not further disclose that information.
Within seven (7) working days after he/she receives the request for review and request for production of records from the Public Access Counselor, the Township may provide an answer to the allegations of the request for review in the form of a letter, brief, or memorandum. The Public Access Counselor shall forward a copy of any such written answer to the person submitting the request for review and the requester may respond in writing to such answer within seven (7) working days. If the requester chooses to file a written response to the Township’s answering of the allegations, he/she must also provide a copy of that response to the Township.
The Public Access Counselor shall examine the issues and records submitted in conjunction with any request for review and shall, within sixty (60) days, issue to the requester and to the Township an opinion in response to the request for review. The opinion shall be binding upon both the requester and the Township, subject to administrative review under Section 11.5 of the Act. The Public Access Counselor may opt to extend the 60 day time period by up to twenty-one (21) additional working days, provided that he/she sends written notice of such extension to both the requester and the Township. The Attorney General may exercise his/her discretion and choose to resolve a request for review by mediation or by a means other than the issuance of a binding opinion.
Upon receipt of a binding opinion concluding that a violation of the Act has occurred, the FOIA Officer shall either take necessary action immediately to comply with the directive of the opinion, or shall initiate administrative review under Section 11.5 of the Act. If the opinion concludes that no violation occurred the requester may initiate administrative review under Section 11.5 of the Act.
Any person denied access to inspect or copy any public record shall also have the right to file suit for injunctive or declaratory relief in the 18th Judicial Circuit Court of DuPage County.