Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Two Ways to Submit a FOIA Request

Requestors that choose to have their information emailed will not incur any fees for photocopying.  Please note that fees may be charged for information mailed to requestors, DVD, CD and oversized document duplications.  For more information, please call Peter Vadopalas at 847/933-8257 or email to FOIA@skokie.org.


Freedom of Information Officer

Peter Vadopalas
Village Manager's Office
5127 Oakton Street
Skokie, IL 60077
847/933-8257
FOIA@skokie.org

Click here for Village of Skokie FOIA Organizational Information

Upon request, salaries for all Village of Skokie employees and elected officials can be obtained at the Village of Skokie Finance Department, 5127 Oakton Street or by calling 847/933-8283 or emailing foia@skokie.org.  Additionally, all Village employee and elected official's current salaries were published in October 27, 2011 Skokie Review newspaper.


Information About FOIA


The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is the principal Illinois statutory enactment governing the inspection of public records. This Act guarantees access to thousands of documents and records generated by the state and local governmental bodies. Specifically, it provides the public with a mechanism to observe government in action and to monitor the actions that government takes. In order to properly comply with this Act, the Village of Skokie has developed the following guidelines.

Who has the right to inspect public records?
Any individual, corporation, partnership, firm or organization, acting individually or as a group has the right to inspect public records.

What information must be made available?
Full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts and policies of those who represent them. Basically, all records having been prepared, or having been used, received, possessed or under the control of the Village must be made available unless the Act provides a specific exemption from disclosure. The Village's obligation is to provide a requesting party with records in the form in which they are originally kept, regardless of physical form (hard copy, microfilm, tape recordings, cards, photographs, electronic data processing records, etc.). If the records are in an electronic format, upon request of the requestor the Village will supply the records either, (1) in a different electronic format, if feasible, or (2) in paper format at the option of the requestor. The following is a non-exhaustive list of records considered "public", as of the date of this publication:

  • Administrative manuals, procedural rules
  • Final opinions and orders made in the adjudication of cases
  • Substantive rules
  • Statements and interpretations of policy adopted by any Village entity
  • Final planning policies
  • Factual reports, inspection reports and studies prepared for or by the Village
  • Any account, voucher or contract dealing with the receipt or expenditure of public funds
  • Names, salaries, titles and dates of employment of all employees and officers of the Village
  • Materials containing opinions concerning the rights of the State, Village, or any private person
  • Name of every official and the final records of voting in all proceedings of public bodies
  • Applications for any contract, permit, grant or agreement
  • Reports, documents, studies and publications prepared by independent consultants for the Village
  • All information required by law
  • Any grant or contract made by or between the Village and another public body or private organization

What information is exempted from public disclosure?
While the Freedom of Information Act provides for the disclosure of public information, it does recognize that in order to enable public bodies to perform certain governmental functions properly, and in order to protect personal privacy, some records and information should remain confidential. A complete listing of these exempted records and information is specified under Section 7 of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.                          

Procedure
The following is the Village of Skokie's procedure for obtaining information through the Freedom of Information Act. By following these steps, requests for information can be expedited in an effective and efficient manner.

Step 1: Complete a Freedom of Information Act Request Form
All requests for information must be made in written form. Forms are available for download from here, or from the Village Manager's Office, located on the second floor of Village Hall, 5127 Oakton Street, Skokie, IL 60077.

Once a form has been completed, requests for information covered under the Act should be referred to the Village Manager's Office, specifically the FOIA Officer. Any type of request for information should be accompanied by the request form. Forms should be completed even when there are concerns that the information may be exempt under the Act. It is important to be as direct/specific as possible when making a request. A request may be made in a letter format if it contains all the necessary information required on the forms.

Step 2: Addressing the Request
Requests may be emailed or mailed to the Freedom of Information Act Officer to the following address/email:

  • Village of Skokie
    Freedom of Information Act Officer
    5127 Oakton Street
    Skokie, IL 60077
    847/933-8257

Individuals may make FOIA requests between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on Village-observed holidays.

Step 3: Village Response
The Freedom of Information Officer shall determine whether the information is exempt or nonexempt under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. The Village shall respond to a written request within five (5) working days from the receipt of the request. It is possible that the Village will request an additional five (5) working days to fulfill the request. However, a written response informing the requestor of an extension will be made by the fifth (5th) working day.

The Village shall respond to the request in the following manner:

  • Approve the request
  • Approve in part and deny in part / "Partial Denial"
  • Deny the request
  • Give notice of an extension
  • Provide the requestor with an opportunity to appeal a response

Response to Commercial Request:
A requestor must inform the Village if a FOIA request is going to be used for a commercial purpose. It is a violation of the Act to attempt to procure a public record without disclosing that the use is for a commercial purpose.  For requests for commercial purposes the Village has twenty-one (21) days to respond with an estimate when the request will be completed and the fees associated with it. However, these records must be provided within a reasonable time.  The Village may require the requestor to pay in full before copying any documents.

 Requests from the news media or non-profit scientific or academic organizations are not classified as a request for commercial purpose if the purpose of the information is to:

  • Access and disseminate information concerning news and current or passing events
  • Write articles of opinion or features of interest to the public.
  • Use for the purpose of academic, scientific or public research/education.

Approval
Upon approval of a request for public records, the Village may either provide the materials immediately or up to five  days after a request, give notice that the materials shall be made available upon payment of reproduction costs, or give notice of the time and place for inspection of records. Generally, public records will be made available for inspection during regular Village business hours. When inspecting records, a Village employee may be present throughout the inspection.

Duplication Fees
Requestors that choose to have their information emailed will not incur any fees for photocopying, unless the information is contained in an oversized document, DVD or CD.  These formats cannot be emailed.

Per Village Code, Article II. Miscellaneous Fees, Sec. 46-31.  Copies of documents.

Service charges for copies of documents shall be as follows:

Police Department

  • Traffic Accident Report
    In-person pick up at the Police Department . . . $5
    Online at www.docview.us.com . . . $11
  • Photographs . . . Actual cost of reproduction

Fire Department

  • Report (including ambulance calls) . . . $5 

Engineering Division  

  • Blueprints, per page . . . $1

Health Department

  • Birth certificates: First copy . . . $10; each additional copy . . . $5
  • Death certificates: First certified copy . . . $12; each additional copy . . . $7

All departments

  • Photocopy . . . 0.15¢ (First 50  copies are free)
  • A fee equal to the actual cost may be charged for color copies.
  • Oversized documents . . . fee determined by size*

* Determination of charges for oversized documents are made by the Department/Division fulfilling the request and if they have the necessary equipment to produce the document. In some instances, oversized documents are sent to an external agency for printing, whereas the requester will pay the cost issued by the external agency.

Undue Burden
Categorical requests creating an undue burden upon the Village shall be denied only after extending to the requestor an opportunity to reduce the request to a manageable proportion.

Denial/Partial Denial/Appeal
A denial of a request for public records shall be made in writing. It shall state a detailed reason for the denial in accordance with either Section 3(f) or Section 7 of the Freedom of Information Act, and the names and titles of the individual responsible for the decision. It shall also give notice of the requestor's right to appeal the denial, in writing, to the Public Access Counselor (PAC), with the address and telephone number of PAC, and the right to judicial review under Section 11 of the Act.

When requests are denied in whole or in part, the requestor may appeal the decision.  Appeals should be made within 60 days in writing, signed by the requestor, should include a copy of the FOIA request and any responses from the Village and must be addressed as follows:

  • By US Mail:
    Public Access Counselor
    Office of the Attorney General
    500 S. 2nd Street
    Springfield, IL 62706
  • By e-mail:
    publicaccess@atg.state.il.us

The PAC shall either affirm the denial, provide access to the records, or provide access to portions of the records.

Catalog of Departmental Records: The Village of Skokie maintains the following public records:

 

Community Development:
Building Code Variations
Building Permit Applications
Certificates of Occupancy
Zoning Verification
Zoning Violations
Special Use Violations
Special Use Variances
Building Permits, Plans and Specifications Maps
Code Ordinances and Amendments

Village Manager's Office:
Budgets
Contracts
Agreements and Leases
Publications (NewSkokie and other Village materials)
Intergovernmental Agreements

Mayor's Office/Corporation Counsel:
Proclamations
Resolutions
Village Board Meeting Minutes and Video Recordings
Board and Commission Meeting Appointments

Village Mayor's Office:
Ordinances
Resolutions
Proclamations
Board and Commission Appointments
City Council Meeting Agendas and Minutes

Finance Department:
Audits
Vehicle sticker water billing records
Cash receipts and disbursements
Animal licensing receipts and disbursements
Liens
Invoices
Copies of purchase orders
Copies of corresponding checks that paid the purchase orders
Bid and request for proposal (RFP) solicitation documents
Contracts, Agreements and Leases


 

Fire Department:
Fire Prevention Bureau
Ambulance Reports
Fire Inspection Reports Fire Reports
Hazardous Materials Records
Underground Storage Tank Records



Police Records Division:
Crime Reported
Licenses
Persons Arrested
Services Rendered
Traffic Accident Report
Police Reports
Civil Defense

Public Information Division:
Press Releases
Legal Notices
Village-issued Newsletters
Village-issued Brochures and Flyers



 

Public Works Department:
Vehicle Maintenance Records
Vehicle Specifications
Contracts, Leases and Agreements Construction Improvement Projects
Reports, Studies & Surveys





Health Department:
Food Inspection Reports and Violations
Public Health Information Notices
Food Borne Illness Reports
Food Establishment Records
Birth and Death Certificate Records
Public Health and Nuisance Reports
Radon & Landscape Waste Survey
Water Quality Reports