Our firm protects municipalities and educational institutions
At Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins, Ltd., we have extensive experience assisting governing bodies and educational institutions with matters related to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Open Meetings Act (OMA). There are certain matters that are sensitive and should be duly protected. The solicitation of information under these acts should be properly supervised, and any discrepancies that arise must be accurately handled. We provide the advice and guidance you need to ensure that you are in compliance with the law.
A straightforward translation of the Freedom of Information Act
In addition to the federal FOIA, Illinois has enacted the Illinois FOIA. The goal of both FOIA statutes is to allow citizens to obtain information about their government. Anyone has the right to make a FOIA request. In Illinois, a public body has five business days after receiving the FOIA request to respond to it, but that timeframe can be extended under certain circumstances. Additionally, certain information is exempt from FOIA requests, including:
- Matters that must be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy
- Information related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency
- Private information, such as Social Security numbers, addresses, personal financial information and other unique identifiers
- Law enforcement records that would disclose a confidential source or otherwise impair an ongoing investigation
- Information that if disclosed could endanger or impair an individual’s life
- Business trade secrets
- Requests that are “unduly burdensome”
There are other exclusions that may apply as well. We can help you interpret the exclusions and how they apply to your municipality or educational institution and the request being made.
Our firm translates and applies the Open Meetings Act
The Illinois Open Meetings Act (OMA) was created to prohibit secret discussions and action on matters significantly affecting the public that should be discussed in a public forum. Providing advance notice to citizens of actions to be taken is part of the policy of the OMA. All meetings are subject to the OMA unless specifically exempted. The OMA specifically applies to municipalities and school districts. There are numerous exemptions, which are strictly construed, that our attorneys can help you understand and determine if they apply to your meeting. We provide important advice regarding your municipality or educational institution’s compliance with the act.
Obtain the guidance you need in FOIA and OMA matters
When a municipality or educational institution has a question regarding FOIA or OMA issues, Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins, Ltd. has the answers. Contact us at our Chicago office at 312-984-6400 or at the Orland Park office at 708-349-3888. We can also be reached via our website.