Geneva Township Highway District Freedom of Information Act officer Sheri McMurray was removed from her post March 20 amid allegations that she released information that violated attorney-client privilege, among other offenses.
The issue centers on highway commissioner Mark Wissing and his opponent in a consolidated election, Michale Abts. Abts filed FOIA requests throughout February and March “seeking, among other things, all sent and received emails and phone records from Wissing over the four years he has served as highway commissioner,” according to the Kane County Chronicle.
Wissing dismissed McMurray as FOIA officer in a March 20 letter stating that her conduct “has been unnecessarily, unjustifiably and deliberately confrontational and insubordinate.” Wissing’s letter asserted that she refused to furnish him or the district’s attorney, Kenneth Shepro, with copies of Wissing’s records, refused to cooperate with Shepro in preparing a response to the request or in reviewing her written response.
Wissing asserts that McMurray told the requester that he refused to provide the records – which he said is not true.
“I have no alternative but to remove you … effective immediately,” Wissing’s letter states.
In a March 22 email from Shepro to McMurray, the attorney takes her to task for releasing emails between Wissing and his attorney, which are not subject to release under FOIA.
And I have so, so much love for the Chronicle over their kicker:
Donald Craven, an attorney for the Illinois Press Association, said McMurray’s removal and the heightened issues connected to the records requests are not that unusual.
“It’s Illinois,” Craven said. “It’s local politics at its best.”