Chicago Tribune says Mayor Emanuel refuses its public records request

Chicago Tribune

The Tribune says Mayor Rahm Emanuel refused its requests for his emails, government cellphone bills and his interoffice communications with top aides, arguing it would be too much work to cross out information the government is allowed to keep private. After lengthy negotiations to narrow its request for two months of these records, the paper was told that almost all of the emails had been deleted. The Tribune notes that Richard M. Daley repeatedly denied similar requests when he was mayor, "but it's not the practice in major cities across the nation." The paper reports:

The [Emanuel] administration provided cellphone records that did not include a single telephone number for either incoming or outgoing calls, making it impossible to discern how the phones might be used to conduct city business. The city said it would be "extremely burdensome" to determine which numbers were public under the law and which were not.

Emanuel doesn't have a city-issued phone and uses an aide's phone to make city-related calls, [spokeswoman Jenny] Hoyle said. The Tribune requested the records for that phone, among others.

The paper found that the kinds of records it wants from Emanuel are routinely available -- in many cases with a phone call or an email request-- in Atlanta, Boston, Hartford, Houston, Miami, Milwaukee, Phoenix and Seattle. | Chicago Reader (July 21, 2011): "In his first months in office, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been sending and resending the message that he wants his administration to be a model of transparency and openness."

  • Jim Romenesko

    From 1999 to 2011, Jim Romenesko maintained the Romenesko page for the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based non-profit school for journalists. Poynter hired him in August of 1999, after seeing his, a hobby site he started in May of 1999.


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