Any requester whose request for information has been denied by the Township may exercise his/her statutory right to petition the Public Access Counselor in the office of the Illinois Attorney General for review of said denial. A request for review must be filed with the Public Access Counselor not later than sixty (60) days after the date of the final denial. Any such request for review must be in writing, signed by the requester, and include copies of the original FOIA request and any responses received from the Township.
Upon receipt of the request for review, the Public Access Counselor shall determine whether further action is warranted. If the Public Access Counselor determines that the alleged violation of the Act is unfounded, he/she shall so advise the requester and the Township and no further action will be taken with respect to the complaint. In all other cases, the Public Access Counselor shall forward a copy of the request for review to the Township within seven (7) working days after receipt and shall specify the records or other documents that the Township shall furnish to facilitate the review. Within seven (7) working days after receipt of the request for review, the Township FOIA Officer must provide copies of the records requested, and shall otherwise fully cooperate with the Public Access Counselor. To the extent that the records produced by the Township for the purposes of review contain information that is claimed to be exempt, the Public Access Counselor shall not further disclose that information.
Within seven (7) working days after he/she receives the request for review and request for production of records from the Public Access Counselor, the Township may provide an answer to the allegations of the request for review in the form of a letter, brief, or memorandum. The Public Access Counselor shall forward a copy of any such written answer to the person submitting the request for review and the requester may respond in writing to such answer within seven (7) working days. If the requester chooses to file a written response to the Township’s answering of the allegations, he/she must also provide a copy of that response to the Township.
The Public Access Counselor shall examine the issues and records submitted in conjunction with any request for review and shall, within sixty (60) days, issue to the requester and to the Township an opinion in response to the request for review. The opinion shall be binding upon both the requester and the Township, subject to administrative review under Section 11.5 of the Act. The Public Access Counselor may opt to extend the 60-day time period by up to twenty-one (21) additional working days, provided that he/she sends written notice of such extension to both the requester and the Township. The Attorney General may exercise his/her discretion and choose to resolve a request for review by mediation or by a means other than the issuance of a binding opinion.
Upon receipt of a binding opinion concluding that a violation of the Act has occurred, the FOIA Officer shall either take necessary action immediately to comply with the directive of the opinion, or shall initiate administrative review under Section 11.5 of the Act. If the opinion concludes that no violation occurred the requester may initiate administrative review under Section 11.5 of the Act.
Any person denied access to inspect or copy any public record shall also have the right to file suit for injunctive or declaratory relief in the 18th Judicial Circuit Court of DuPage County.