Quinn wants FOIA requests made public

Holly Richrath

Germantown Hills Village Board Trustee Terry Quinn thinks the names of those who request Freedom of Information Act requests should be made public on the village’s website.

This, he told his fellow trustees at Thursday’s Village Board meeting, could help to discourage individuals from making numerous FIOA requests. He said he is concerned because the requests take up the time of Village Clerk Ann Sasso and involve attorney’s fees.

“It might be something that might discourage someone from doing this repeatedly,” Quinn said. “I’ve talked to some people at the Illinois Municiple League about this and it’s not a problem unique to our community.”

He said FOIA request information, including the requestor, city, state and type of records requested, is posted on Springfield’s website.

“Most of the requests occur from news agencies wanting police reports, occasionally you’ll see there’ll be something where somebody wants to find out why their house was condemned and they’ll do a FOIA request to get that, but you don’t see the kind of stuff that we’re facing right now because people don’t want to put their name behind it,” Quinn said.

The request comes after Scott McCoy, a Pontiac resident and son-in-law of Trustee Clark Hopkins, made several requests in March and April concerning Sasso.

McCoy has said that his requests do not concern his father-in-law, and that he is looking into things he has heard while in Germantown Hills and will soon release information he has gathered on Sasso.

The issue, coupled with the treatment of Sasso from other board members led GTH Trustee Mike Gaetz to notify Mayor Kenny Mitchell and village attorney Richard Joseph via email of his resignation April 25. However, Mitchell told the board Thursday that Gaetz had not formally resigned and was officially still a trustee at the time of the meeting.

Gaetz was not at Thursday’s meeting.

Quinn made a motion to begin publicizing FOIA requests on the website, but it was not supported by his fellow trustees and therefore, failed.

McCoy, who was sitting in the audience, said, “As your website provider, it’d be a very easy thing to do.”

“We’ll just bring it up at a later date,” Mitchell said.

In other business, the board:

• Approved a motion to restrict the sale of alcohol by adult use facilities.

The measure, Joseph said, is being taken to protect the village from an occurrence similar to the opening of Fluffers, an establishment in Sparland, which offers topless dancers and allows patrons to bring their own alcohol.

• Learned from Trustee Ken Slater that two digital speed signs have been put up on 116 to encourage speeding drivers to slow down.

• Heard from outgoing board member Slater at his last board meeting.

“I wanted to thank everybody,” he said. “It’s been a pleasure to serve. There’ve probably been only 20 or 25 people who knew me, but I want to thank Mr. Quinn for getting my name out there to the public. If it hadn’t been for him and his wife and all their blogging. I took the high road and didn’t respond  ...”

Slater was interrupted by Mitchell’s gavel.

“Thank you Terry,” he continued. “If I run again I’ll expect your help.”

“You’re welcome,” Quinn replied.