Freedom of Information Requests
- Available Information
- Making a Request
- Commercial Requests
- Possible Fees
- Response to Requests
Purpose of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
The Village of Burr Ridge, a municipality, is subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Other public bodies subject to the Act include any legislative, executive, administrative or advisory bodies of the State; state universities and colleges; counties; school districts and all other boards, bureaus, committees or commissions of the State; and any subsidiary bodies (such as committees and subcommittees) that are supported by or expend tax revenue. The judiciary is not subject to the Act, but court records and legal proceedings are generally open to the public.
The Illinois General Assembly enacted Public Act 83-1013, the short title of which is the "Freedom of Information Act," which took effect July 1, 1984. The purpose of the Act is to provide the public with greater access to the records of public bodies. The Act states that "all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts and policies of those who represent them as public officials and public employees . . ." Within specified limitations, the Act allows anyone to inspect and to obtain copies of all public records prepared, possessed, used by, or in the control of any public body. Anyone may obtain access to these documents, including individuals, groups, associations, corporations, firms, partnerships and organizations.
Every public body subject to the Freedom of Information Act must make their existing records available to the public. The Act does not require these bodies to answer specific questions, create new records, or keep a central library or index of all government records. If you are not sure which public body has the information you seek, begin by calling the public bodies with names or responsibilities related to your topic. This may help you identify the appropriate source. Public bodies must have a list of the types or categories of records in their possession. They must also have a description of how to request a record and a directory of the employees assigned to process disclosure requests for that body. If no one is available to answer your questions over the telephone, the directory should be on display in each administrative or regional office of the body. The list of records should be available to be copied, and can be requested through the mail.
Information Available Under the FOIA
Village records available under the Act are orders, rules, policy statements, planning policies and decisions, reports or studies, public contracts, the names, titles and salaries of public employees, and the voting records of the Village.
Making a Request
You may submit a completed request in person, orally, or in writing to the Village's FOIA Officers during normal business hours Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Contact: Karen Thomas, FOIA Officer
7660 County Line Road, Burr Ridge, IL 60527
(630) 654-8181 x 2030
Contact: Christina Paape FOIA Officer
7700 County Line Road, Burr Ridge, IL 60527
(630) 323-8181 x 5020
If you desire that any records be certified, you must indicate that on your request. If you wish to inspect records rather than copy them, you may do so at our offices during normal business hours, by scheduling an appointment with the respective FOIA Officer. If he/she is not available at the time of your request, an employee of the Village acting under the direction of the FOIA Officer can accept your request.
Requests can also be made by completing our Freedom of Information Request, which can be downloaded from our Forms page.
If you wish to submit a letter requesting information, remember to date your letter and keep a copy for your records. We urge you to send your requests via certified mail and request a return receipt so that you will have a record of the date on which your request was received.
Remember to be specific in your request. It should specify the records you wish to inspect, copy, or both. If you request all records applicable to a general category, this may cause an undue burden on the Village and cause a delay or refusal of your request. For instance, if you seek information on a certain topic, but want to exclude some material (for example, newspaper clippings or records created before or after a certain date), you can ask that these be omitted. A specific request will avoid confusion, burden and high copying fees. Under the act, you can request a fee waiver or reduction if your disclosure request qualifies (see information below), you may ask for a waiver. The Act gives the Village discretion to grant fee waivers or reductions when disclosure is in the public interest.
A commercial FOIA request is when the requestor seeks to use part or all of the public records for sale, resale, or solicitation or advertisement for sales or services.
The FOIA Officer has 21 business days to respond to a request for information that is made for a commercial purpose. The public body can either: (1) provide the requested records; (2) advise when the records will be provided and the costs; (3) deny the request (if it falls under an exception); or (4) advise the requestor that the request is unduly burdensome and extend an opportunity to the requestor to attempt to reduce the request to manageable proportions.
Please note it is a violation of the Freedom of Information Act for a person to knowingly obtain a public record for a commercial purpose without disclosing that it is for a commercial purpose.
The Act permits the Village to charge reasonable fees to pay for copying costs or for the use of copying equipment, but we may not charge for the time and effort of a search. The schedule of fees charged is detailed below.
- $.18 per page (actual cost)
- $.10 per certificate (actual cost) if the copies are to be certified
Please Note: All charges are payable before the material is released. Certain technical documents such as codes, blueprints, zoning maps, etc. require special reproduction costs and will be billed at the actual cost to the Village. You will be informed, if at all possible, what the cost will be when you make your request.
The Village may waive or reduce the fees if disclosure is in the public interest. You might receive a waiver or reduction if (a) you are requesting information on the health, safety and welfare or the legal rights of the general public, (b) you plan to disseminate this information, and (c) you will not receive a personal or commercial benefit from the disclosure of the documents. Ordinarily, you do not have to explain why you want access to a public record, but to qualify for a fee waiver or reduction, you should explain what you plan to do with the information.
Response to Requests
Upon receipt of a FOIA request, the FOIA Officer shall determine whether the request is exempt or nonexempt under the provisions of the FOIA. The FOIA Officer shall respond in one of the following ways: disclosure, delay and denial.
Disclosure: The Village will disclose records in response to your request unless an exemption provided by the act can be properly invoked within five (5) working days afte the request has been received.
Delay: No later than the fifth business day following your request, the Village may inform you, in writing, that your request requires an additional five (5) working days to respond for any of the following reasons:
- The requested records are stored in another location.
- The request requires the collection of a large number of records.
- The request is categorical in nature and requires an extensive search.
- The Village has failed to locate the requested records in the initial search and the search is continuing.
- The requested records require examination by a competent person in order to determine which, if any, are exempt from disclosure under the Act or should be revealed only with appropriate deletions.
- It would unduly burden or interfere with the operations of the Village to fill the request within the initial 7 working days.
- There is a need for consultation with another public body which has a substantial interest in the determination or in the subject matter of the request.
Denial: Any denials will be made in writing and will cite a specific legal reason under the FOIA to justify the non-disclosure and will include information regarding your right to appeal. If your FOIA request is denied you have th right to seek review by the Public Access Counselor (PAC) in the Attorney General’s office as well as the right to seek judicial review by filing a court case. You will have 60 calendar days from the date of the denial to submit a Request for Review to the PAC. Requests may be denied for the following reasons:
- Information specifically prohibited from disclosure by federal or State law or rules and regulations adopted under federal or State law.
- Information that, if disclosed, would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, unless the disclosure is consented to in writing by the individual subjects of the information. The disclosure of information that bears on the public duties of public employees and officials shall not be considered an invasion of personal privacy. Information not required to be disclosed includes:
- Files and personnel information maintained with respect to clients, patients, residents, students or other individuals receiving social, medical, educational, vocational, financial, supervisory or custodial care or services directly or indirectly from federal agencies or public bodies;
- Personnel files and personal information maintained with respect to employees, appointees or elected officials of the Village;
- Files and personal information maintained with respect to any applicant, registrant or licensee by the Village cooperating or engaged in professional or occupational registration, licensure or discipline;
- Information required of any taxpayer in connection with the assessment or collection of any tax unless disclosure is required by State statute; and
- Information revealing the identity of persons who file complaints with or provide information to administrative, investigative, law enforcement or penal agencies; except, in some cases, the identity of witnesses to traffic accidents, traffic accident reports and rescue reports may be disclosed.
- Records compiled by the Village for administrative enforcement proceedings and any law enforcement or correctional agency for law enforcement purposes or for internal matters of the Village, when disclosure would:
- Interfere with pending or actually and reasonably contemplated law enforcement proceedings conducted by the Village, any law enforcement or correctional agency;
- Interfere with pending administrative enforcement proceedings conducted by the Village or any public body;
- Deprive a person of a fair trial or an impartial hearing;
- Unavoidably disclose the identity of a confidential source or confidential information furnished only by the confidential source;
- Disclose unique or specialized investigative techniques other than those generally used and known, or disclose internal documents of correctional agencies related to detection, observation or investigation of crime or misconduct;
- Constitute an invasion of personal privacy; endanger the life or physical safety of law enforcement personnel or any other person; or obstruct an ongoing criminal investigation.
- Criminal history record information maintained by State or local criminal justice agencies, except the following which shall be disclosed:
- Chronologically maintained arrest information, such as traditional arrest logs or blotters;
- The name of a person in the custody of a law enforcement agency and the charges for which that person is being held;
- Court records that are public;
- Records that are otherwise available under State or local law; or
- Records in which the requesting party is the individual identified, except when disclosure would endanger the life or physical safety of law enforcement personnel or any other person.
- Records that relate to or affect the security of correctional and detention facilities.
- Preliminary drafts, notes, recommendations, memoranda and other records in which opinions are expressed, or policies or actions are formulated. A specific record or relevant portion of a record shall not be exempt when the record is publicly cited and identified by the Mayor. This exemption extends to all records of officers and agencies of the General Assembly that pertain to the preparation of legislative documents.
- Trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person or business where the trade secrets or information are proprietary, privileged or confidential, or where disclosure of the trade secrets or information may cause competitive harm.
- Proposals and bids for any contract, grant or agreement, which if disclosed would frustrate procurement or give an advantage to any person proposing to enter into a contractor agreement with the Village, until an award or final selection is made. Information prepared by or for the Village in preparation of a bid solicitation shall be exempt until an award or final selection is made.
- Valuable formulae, designs, drawings and research data, when disclosure could reasonably be expected to produce private gain or public loss.
- Test questions, scoring keys or other examination data used to administer an academic examination or to determine the qualifications of an applicant for a license or employment.
- Architects' plans and engineers' technical submissions for projects not constructed or developed with public funds, and for projects constructed or developed with public funds, to the extent that disclosure would compromise security.
- Library circulation and order records identifying library users with specific materials.
- Minutes of meetings of public bodies closed to the public as provided in the Open Meetings Act.
- Communications between the Village and an attorney or auditor representing the Village that would not be subject to discovery in litigation, and materials prepared or compiled by or for the Village in anticipation of a criminal, civil or administrative proceeding on the request of an attorney advising the Village, and materials prepared or compiled with respect to internal audits.
- Information received by a primary or secondary school, college or university under its procedures for the evaluation of faculty members by their academic peers.
- Adminsitrative or technical information associated with automated data processing operations that, if disclosed, would jeopardize the security of the system or its data.
- Information or materials relating to collective negotiations between the Village and its employees or representatives, except final contracts or agreements.
- Records pertaining to the financing and marketing transactions of the Village, and the records of ownership, registration, transfer and exchange of municipal debt obligations.
- The records, documents and information relating to real estate purchase negotiations until the negotiations are complete or otherwise terminated. Records, documents and information relating to a parcel involved in a pending, or actually and reasonably contemplated eminent domain proceeding, shall be exempt except as allowed under litigation discovery rules. The records, documents and information relating to a real estate sale are exempt until the sale is consummated.
- Proprietary information related to the operation of an intergovernmental risk management association or self-insurance pool or jointly self-administered health and accident cooperative or pool.
- Information concerning a university's adjudication of grievance or disciplinary cases, when disclosure would reveal the identity of the student or employee, and information concerning any public body's adjudication of student or employee grievance or disciplinary cases, except for the final outcome of the cases.
- Course materials or research materials used by faculty members.
- Information related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of the Village.
- Information contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of the Village responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions or insurance companies, unless disclosure is otherwise required by State law.
- Information, the disclosure of which is restricted under the Public Utilities Act.
- Manuals or instruction to staff that relate to establishment or collection of liability for any State tax.
- Certain records received or prepared by the Experimental Organ Transplantation Procedures Board or its staff.
- Insurance or self-insurance (including any intergovernmental risk management association or self insurance pool) claims, loss or risk management information.
- Information held by the Department of Public Health and its authorized representatives relating to known or suspected cases of sexually transmissible disease.
- Information, the disclosure of which is exempted under the Radon Mitigation Act.
- Firm performance evaluations under the Architectural, Engineering, and Land Surveying Qualifications Based Selection Act.