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Illinois attorney general: Ringwood failed to comply with Illinois Freedom of Information Act

Ringwood Village Clerk Roni Gaddis
Ringwood Village Clerk Roni Gaddis

The Illinois Attorney General’s Office has issued a binding opinion regarding a Freedom of Information Act complaint against the village of Ringwood.

Woodstock resident Margaret Schohn sent a FOIA request to the village in October. The village never responded and also failed to respond to the Attorney General’s Public Access Bureau about the matter, according to attorney general’s office.

Illinois Freedom of Information Act law requires that public bodies, such as municipal governments, provide access to its public records. Public records include items such as reports, meeting agendas and board packets, electronic data and communications, and any other documents the body holds, with some exceptions.

Schohn requested all recordings and meeting minutes from village, committee and subcommittee meetings from April 2016 to October 2018. She also requested all “Village Voices” newsletters from the same period, according to the attorney general’s office.

Schohn submitted the request
Oct. 30. Public entities have five days to respond to a FOIA request. A five-day extension can be requested, but the body must acknowledge the request and ask for an extension.

On Nov. 8, Schohn had not received a response and emailed a request for review to the attorney general’s office. The office sent a copy of the request with a letter to the village Nov. 15. The letter requested that the village respond to Schohn and send a copy of its response to the attorney general’s office.

The village never responded, according to the attorney general’s office.

On Nov. 30, the office sent a second email to the village of Ringwood asking for the same. Ringwood again did not respond, according to the attorney general’s office.

On Dec. 12, Schohn informed the office that Ringwood still had not responded to her request. On Dec. 17, the assistant attorney general at the Public Access Bureau left a voicemail for Ringwood Village Clerk Roni Gaddis and requested a return phone call.

Gaddis never responded, according to the attorney general’s office.

On Jan. 3, Ringwood had not responded. On Feb. 19, the attorney general’s office issued its binding opinion that Ringwood failed to comply with FOIA law and ordered the village to respond to the FOIA request.

Schohn said Friday that she did not receive a response until May 24, and the response was incomplete.

Gaddis could not be reached for comment on her cellphone Friday.

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