Michigan official files FOIA on private organization

I wrote a post back in March about an official for Billings Township, Michigan trying to file a FOIA on a private grassroots organization. It seemed a little hard to believe so I suggested taking it with a grain of salt. Now, someone from the grassroots organization (Concerned Citizens of Billings Township) has found that blog post and confirmed that the story is accurate.

“We did get a FOIA from an ex official/current assignee of the Township. She is running for Township Clerk again.”

Concerned Citizens of Billings Township.

No wonder they’re concerned.

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5 responses to “Michigan official files FOIA on private organization

  1. classicalliberal

    I find this both hilarious and sad. On the one hand the official displays not only ignorance of the FOA, but a more fundamental ignorance of the difference between ‘public’ and ‘private’. Sad though, these are the “leaders” of this country.

  2. Actually, in Benton County, WA, you can make a PDR request of a private agency.

    Recent court case confirmed that when the County contracted with the SPCA for shelter services for animals, they moved a legit function of gub’mint to the private sector, and now that private firm is subject to the Public Records Act.

    The Geez

  3. Geez,

    Thanks for the warning. The BTB offered the Township Hall to the CCC for our meetings. We declined. THAT would have been accepting ‘public supplies/funding’.
    pgg

  4. July 15, 2008

    More from Billings Township……..

    I am Editor of THE EAGLE EYE newsletter of the Concerned Citizens Committee of Billings Township, Gladwin Co, Michigan. Please visit http://www.cccbillings.com

    The Billings Township Board has denied the existence of Phase III of the sewer project at several board meetings. Since the Fall of 2007, we have sent several Michigan FOIA requests for info on Phase III of the sewer project which the Township failed to reply to. Finally on May 11, 2008, I sent them a Federal FOIA request for the info since the sewer is Federally Funded. What the heck?

    The Township partially replied 2 months later (JULY 9) via email. In their reply, Billings Township denied the existence of Phase III (TWICE).

    Now it gets interesting: We sent the exact same FOIA request to the USDA Rural Development. RD replied to our FOIA with a map of Phase III and other info on Phase III. In addition, RD recognized our FOIA request as being made by ‘a representative of the news media’ -THE EAGLE EYE and did not charge fees. At the board meeting last night, the Township Board denied THE EAGLE EYE news media status under Federal or State Law.

    By the way, Michigan FOIA Law needs to change to recognize news media changes in the 21st Century. I have written Tim Moore, my state representative, to introduce legislation to amend the Michigan FOIA to parallel the Federal FOIA.

    Also, what do we do about a Township Board that brazenly lied ‘in writing’ about the existence of Phase III?

    Respectfully,

    Patricia G. Gnotek
    Secretary / Concerned Citizens Committee
    of Billings Township
    Editor: THE EAGLE EYE

  5. from Your Daily Chum (off the web 8/2/2009)
    Billings Township (Michigan) clerk doesn’t quite understand how the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) works.
    By Your Daily Chum
    Source: Open Records

    Michigan official files FOIA on private organization
    June 18, 2008

    I wrote a post back in March about an official for Billings Township, Michigan trying to file a FOIA on a private grassroots organization. It seemed a little hard to believe so I suggested taking it with a grain of salt. Now, someone from the grassroots organization (Concerned Citizens of Billings Township) has found that blog post and confirmed that the story is accurate.

    “We did get a FOIA from an ex official/current assignee of the Township. She is running for Township Clerk again.”

    Concerned Citizens of Billings Township.

    No wonder they’re concerned.

    Tags: billings township, concerned citizens of billings township, FOIA, Freedom of Information Act, Michigan

    This entry was posted on June 20, 2008 at 3:08 am and is filed under Damn the Man!. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

    2 Responses to “Billings Township (Michigan) clerk doesn’t quite understand how the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) works.”

    ms l Says:

    July 16, 2009 at 5:04 pm | Reply
    The eagle eye is not a recognized medium of the newsgathering organization, rather a ‘newsletter’ published for it’s members. As far as any person attempting to get information from her group, good luck. You are NOT even allowed to attend their ‘meeting’ unless you are invited. In other words, if you don’t agree with their take on things, don’t even bother asking to be allowed at their meetings. They will refuse, rather than take a chance on someone having a different view or opinion. Any information within ANY governmental unit that is not of a sensitive nature can be viewed by request. They can’t say the same thing, can they???

    Patricia G. Gnotek Says:

    November 2, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Reply
    Reply to ms l: THE EAGLE EYE is a free publication. It has a circulation of over 700 and is also available on our website: cccbillings.com TEE is also posted in several local businesses. The population of Billings Twp. is 2715 per the 2000 census. TEE is a recognized publication. Regarding invitations to meetings: We began having meetings Oct. 24, 2007. Our meetings were Open to the Public. We served cookies and coffee at the 1st meeting. We were sent a letter from the Health Dept. stating refreshments could not be served at our meeting place since it did not have a proper kitchen to serve the Public. The letter arrived just hours before our 2nd meeting in Nov. 2007. The Health Dept. said we could serve refreshments if we had guests. Our Members & Guests decided to bring their own refreshments and share. ‘Someone’ complained to the Health Dept. and it is very likely that same ‘Someone’ is now twisting the issue hoping to gain God knows what by calling us elitists and likening our organization to Hitler and Nazis. We have by request, opened our meetings to Guests with many differing opinions. But – do we prefer to keep to ourselves? Yes! I would like to thank the ‘Someone’ who made the complaint to the Health Dept. The CCC has benefited greatly from the Fellowship of like-minded individuals. We have a great team following the truth wherever it may lead. And we work well together as we hold out our hands to dozens of families in the community via our Random Acts of Kindness program. I encourage you, ms l to take a closer look at the Concerned Citizens Committee volunteers. You would be ever so lucky to get to know them. Warm regards, Patricia G. Gnotek President / Editor

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