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05/04/89 American Federation of v. the County of Cook Et Al.

May 4, 1989

EMPLOYEES , AFL-CIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

THE COUNTY OF COOK ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FOURTH DIVISION

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL

538 N.E.2d 776, 182 Ill. App. 3d 941, 131 Ill. Dec. 401 1989.IL.673

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Thomas R. Rakowski, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE JOHNSON delivered the opinion of the court. LINN, J., concurs. PRESIDING JUSTICE JIGANTI, Dissenting.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE JOHNSON

This is an appeal from the circuit court of Cook County denying the motion for judgment on the pleadings of defendants, the County of Cook and George W. Dunne as president of the board of commissioners of the County of Cook, and granting the motion for summary judgment of plaintiff, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees , AFL-CIO. The sole issue presented for review is whether a government agency may elect, pursuant to its administrative authority under the Freedom of Information Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 116, par. 201 et seq.) (hereinafter the Act), to furnish requested information on a computer printout rather than on computer tape.

We reverse.

In October and November 1986, plaintiff requested the name, job title, position code, and rate of pay for employees in certain county departments. Defendants provided the requested information in a printed report, receipt of which was acknowledged by an agent of plaintiff.

In a letter dated November 2, 1986, plaintiff requested that the same information be provided on a computer tape or diskette. Defendants denied the request by letter dated December 1, 1986, because this information had previously been supplied.

On December 17 plaintiff's counsel wrote another letter to defendants, again requesting that the information be provided on computer tape. Plaintiff also requested that the information be sorted by job title within certain specified departments and to indicate whether the employees were covered by collective bargaining agreements. On December 31, defendants again denied the request and advised plaintiff that its payroll records were not maintained by job title within the requested specified departments nor do these records indicate which employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements. Defendants also stated that it was the requester's responsibility to re-sort the provided information.

On January 5, 1987, plaintiff appealed defendants' denial pursuant to the Act. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 116, par. 201 et seq.) Plaintiff, however, only appealed from defendants' denial of the request that the information be provided on computer tape or diskette. Defendants denied plaintiff's appeal by letter on February 11, 1987. Defendants maintain the Act does not require that the requested information also be provided on computer tape.

On March 5, 1987, plaintiff filed a suit for injunctive relief to require defendants to turn over the requested material on computer tape. During the pendency of the suit, plaintiff continued to ask for the information on computer tape and defendants continued to provide the information in a printed form. Defendants provided such information on four separate occasions after plaintiff had filed suit.

Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment on September 9, 1987. A supporting affidavit was filed with plaintiff's motion. The affidavit, from a part-time data processor, stated that the cost to plaintiff to convert the printed records onto disk would be $900, plus $100 for tape to disk conversion and for computer time. It was further stated ...


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