The law allowing residents and business to request public records may be dubbed the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, but as municipalities are seeing more and more requests come in each year, officials say the cost to comply with the law is anything but free.
A Daily Herald survey of 55 municipalities showed that the number of Freedom of Information Act requests received has increased in nearly all towns over the past few years that officials have been tracking the numbers. Between 2011 and 2013, 17 suburbs saw an increase of more than 25 percent. Towns including Aurora, Hampshire, Des Plaines and Prospect Heights saw the number of requests increase by more than 50 percent.
Municipal clerks and lawyers said that responding to these requests takes staff time and money away from other responsibilities to the point of being a burden, but First Amendment experts say it is worth the cost to increase transparency of government. Continue>>>