THE CITY OF DANVILLE, a Municipal Corporation, Plaintiff-Appellant,
LISA MADIGAN, in Her Official Capacity as Attorney General, and KEVIN FLYNN, Defendant-Appellees.
from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County No. 16MR26
Honorable Brian T. Otwell, Judge Presiding.
PRESIDING JUSTICE HARRIS delivered the judgment of the court,
with opinion. Justices Holder White and DeArmond concurred in
the judgment and opinion.
HARRIS, PRESIDING JUSTICE
1 This case arises from defendant Kevin Flynn's request
pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (the Act or FOIA)
(5 ILCS 140/11(e) (West 2014)). In August 2015, Flynn
requested documents from plaintiff, the City of Danville (the
City), pertaining to the Danville Housing Task Force (Housing
Task Force). The City denied Flynn's request, and he
sought administrative review with defendant, the office of
the Illinois Attorney General. The Attorney General
subsequently issued a binding opinion, finding that the City
improperly denied Flynn's request. The City then sought
administrative review in Sangamon County circuit court, which
affirmed the decision of the Attorney General.
2 The City appeals, arguing that (1) the Housing Task Force
is not a "public body" subject to FOIA disclosure
requirements and (2) the requested records do not constitute
"public records" as defined by the Act. We affirm.
3 I. BACKGROUND
4 In December 2014, the Housing Task Force convened to
identify housing issues and trends in the city of Danville,
Illinois. Eighteen community members were asked to
participate in the Housing Task Force in addition to four
City employees. The Housing Task Force met several times
between December 2014 and July 2015. At these meetings, the
Housing Task Force discussed the availability of public
housing and the population loss that the City had
experienced. The objective of the Housing Task Force was to
develop strategic goals and objectives to improve housing
conditions within the community.
5 In July 2015, the City's engineering and urban services
department sent a memorandum to the City's council
members. The memorandum summarized the Housing Task
Force's findings and recommendations, stating, in
pertinent part, as follows:
"With the assistance of city staff, we have extensively
reviewed existing data associated with our neighborhoods, our
public housing authority, and our city's policies. This
document is not intended to be a comprehensive housing
analysis; rather, it is a conglomeration of current issues,
goals, and recommendations to alleviate said issues. *** We
are now pleased to present to you our findings and
recommendations for improvements."
6 On July 24, 2015, the Housing Task Force submitted its
final report to the city
council, which was made available to the public. The
introduction to the report stated as follows: "Together,
[the] goals, objectives and recommendations are intended to
comprise the City's housing strategy for the 2015-2020
planning period, and will guide daily decision-making by City
officials and staff, while equipping citizens with the
awareness of the housing programs that the City will be
initiating to meet its overall housing goals."
7 On August 31, 2015, Kevin Flynn, a private citizen,
requested documents from the City pursuant to the Act (5 ILCS
140/11(e) (West 2014)). Specifically, he requested the
"1. Please provide all meeting times, locations and
meeting notices for the Danville Housing Task Force that