by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Groveâ€”The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday identified four Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) officers, in compliance with the updated law, which went into effect Jan. 1.
As part of the new requirements, governmental bodies are required to appoint FOIA officers to respond to all future requests for information made through the FOIA process. The Village Board named Village Clerk Cindy Galbreath, Public Works Director Tony Speciale, Police Chief Brad Sauer and Community Development Director Rich Young as the village’s FOIA officers.
The Act requires that all information held by a public body be given to anyone who asks for it, with very few exceptions. One of these exceptions is private information, such as social security numbers, home or personal telephone numbers and personal e-mail addresses. Among other FOIA changes, public information requests will not have to be written on a village-specified form and can be submitted in a variety of ways, including verbally.
The new FOIA law also requires municipalities to provide the first 50 pages of public information free of charge, and can charge no more than 15 cents for each additional page. In addition, the law requires municipalities to provide public information electronically if requested, when it is available in that format. Municipalities must also provide the requested information within five working days, as compared to seven days under the old rules.
Recent concerns raised that the e-mail addresses of e-news recipients of a public body would no longer be considered private is not something Sugar Grove residents need to worry about, Galbreath said.
â€œPlease rest assured that the village of Sugar Grove has always taken precautions to ensure that your e-mail address is private and remains private,â€ Village Clerk Cindy Galbreath wrote in an e-mail to residents. Galbreath said that Sugar Grove’s E-News database is grouped by geographic area and all addresses are classified as private.
To view Sugar Grove’s Freedom of Information Act procedures, visit www.sugar-grove.il.us/VFoiaListing.htm. To view the Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140/1), visit www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/government/index.html.
Galbreath said that if anyone has questions or concerns regarding the village’s policy, she can be reached at (630) 466-4507, ext. 24.