Updates on cases, laws, and other topics of interest to local governments

Subscribe by Email

Enter your Email:
Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Subscribe in a Reader

Follow Municipal Minute on Twitter


Blog comments do not reflect the views or opinions of the Author or Ancel Glink. Some of the content may be considered attorney advertising material under the applicable rules of certain states. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Please read our full disclaimer

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mayor Waived FOIA Exemption by Publicly Citing Study in Press Conference

The First District Appellate Court recently issued an opinion ruling that the City of Chicago could not withhold a 2009 assessment of police department operations conducted by an outside consultant that had been requested under FOIA.  Dumke v. Chicago
Plaintiff had filed a FOIA request for various documents, including the 2009 study, after former Mayor Daley referenced the study in a press conference about police officer reassignments.  The police department had denied plaintiff's initial request as "unduly burdensome" and plaintiff subsequently narrowed the request to the final report.  The City denied the request again, this time citing the exemption that protects draft documents.  The plaintiff appealed the denial, arguing that the City had waived the draft exemption when the Mayor publicly cited the report at a press conference.  The City responded that the police superintendent was the head of the applicable public body (the police department) and, therefore, the Mayor had no authority to waive the draft record exemption. 
The appellate court rejected the City's argument. The court first determined  that the police superintendent was not the only "head of a public body" that could waive the draft documents exemption in this case.  The Mayor, as the CEO of the City, was also the head of the public body for purposes of interpreting the draft document exemption.  Second, the court reviewed a YouTube video of the press conference, as well as a written press release issued by the Mayor's office, and determined that the Mayor did publicly cite and identify the 2009 study, and the consultant firm that prepared the study, in his press conference.  As a result, the City waived the applicable FOIA exemption.


Post a Comment