It's been a few months since we've seen any binding opinion issued from the Illinois Public Access Counselor (PAC) - the last opinion was issued more than 3 months ago. Recently, the PAC issued its fourth binding opinion for 2016. Unfortunately, this opinion offers no helpful guidance to public bodies on any novel issues in complying with OMA and FOIA. In PAC Op. 16-004, the PAC found a public body in violation of FOIA for failing to respond to a FOIA request within the statutory time-frame.
On April 5, 2016, a newspaper reporter filed a FOIA request with the Chicago Police Department for various information relating to the department's staffing levels, as well as copies of all personnel orders issued by the department. The CPD extended the time period for response and requested an additional time frame for response from the requester. On May 12, 2016, the reporter had not yet received the requested records and filed a request for review with the PAC office.
The PAC found the CPD in violation of FOIA for failing to notify the requester of the extension within 5 business days, and for failing to provide the records to the requester, and directed the CPD to comply with FOIA and provide responsive records to the requester, subject to redactions.
Nothing surprising in this opinion.