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  • Writer's pictureTricia Babischkin

Trustee Responds

In response to Ms. Odom's opinion, Mr. Berman, who has been apparently annointed to be the mouthpiece of the 'majority,' wrote his version. You can read it here.

That said, Mr. Berman claims that the Village is held hostage -- and he's right; he just doesn't realize who is actually holding us hostage.

First, Mr. Berman has decided that the flood of FOIA requests is some massive plot to 'shut down Village Hall.' He's claimed it so much that I want to believe he thinks this is true, but in an email exchange I had with him on 6/24, he could provide no proof of such a conspiracy and using his own logic in the Finding of "Facts" Report, since he can not provide proof of his statement, I can can close this matter with no further investigation. The truth is when public figures act ugly, FOIA requests increase -- this is normal and why most public figure try to avoid being video taped screaming at police chiefs in the parking lot of Village Hall.

Second, the legal bills are out of control. In this, Mr. Berman is 100% correct. But I've dug though the legal bill and I found FOIAs are not the problem -- though I think it's important to note that our Village Attorney reviewing every FOIA request is a problem. This requirement is new and seems to be a result of the investigation of no formal complaints that has been "holding our village hostage." But back to amount of our legal bills.

In May, Matter 0013 Misc. is where our attorney bills basically everything that isn't traffic or court cases. This matter bills at $175/hr. In May, using the notes listed on the attorney bills, I see that FOIA related matters incurred 32.25 hours of the attorney's time: which is an outstanding $5,643.75. However, calls, conferences, and follow-ups with the CAO, Village President, Trustees regarding personnel issues (you remember the 'no formal complaints') took 95.75 hours of his time. That translates to $16,756.25. This calculation leaves out the line items that are clearly 'normal' village business. And stands to refute Mr. Berman's allegation that my FOIA requests (which are 5 total in both May and June -- 3 were in May) cost the Village $3,000.

So -- I'd take Mr. Berman's thoughts in the Herald with a grain of salt. I think he's trying to be the best mouthpiece for the situation and maybe he is. But one has to wonder why he's not actually sought to get to the heart of the matter?

For reference -- here's the May Attorney Bills

May Legal Bill
Download PDF • 327KB

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