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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

PAC Annual Report for 2017

Each year, the Public Access Counselor's office of the Illinois Attorney General (PAC) releases an annual report summarizing the PAC's activities over the past year. The Annual Report includes a summary of some of the binding and non-binding opinions issued by the PAC office, as well as information about the PAC's informal resolutions. The Report also reports on the number of requests for review filed with the PAC office. You can access the full Report for 2017 on the PAC website here.  

It is important to point out that the PAC's Annual Report for 2017 is heavily skewed towards reporting solely on opinions finding public bodies in violation of FOIA or OMA. In fact, the Annual Report completely fails to report on any of the opinions that find in favor of public bodies on FOIA and OMA complaints. The one-sided nature of the Annual Report is somewhat misleading to the public as it suggests that every complaint filed with the PAC has merit. To the contrary, we have read and reported on many PAC opinions that find in favor of public bodies, albeit in non-binding opinions. Frankly, it would not be that difficult for the Annual Report to summarize a few of these opinions or at least report on the percentage of opinions finding in favor of, or against, public bodies. In my opinion, a more balanced approach to reporting on the PAC activities would provide the public with a more accurate reporting on the PAC's activities and how public bodies are complying (or not complying) with FOIA and OMA. 

The Annual Report includes the following statistics for 2017:
  • 3,515 requests for review were filed with the PAC relating to FOIA complaints
  • 373 requests for review were filed with the PAC relating to OMA complaints
  • 15 binding opinions were issued in 2017 (you can find summaries of these opinions on this blog)
  • 43 training sessions were conducted by the PAC
  • 92% of the 35,000 requests for review filed with the PAC since 2010 have been closed
Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


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