A judge says electronic messages between city officials sent during an open meeting should be public record. The city of Champaign denied a newspaper's request for electronic communications among city council members sent during the board's meetings. But Monday a judge sided with the paper, saying the records are public even if they were sent on personal phones and e-mail accounts. Attorney Don Craven represented the Champaign News-Gazette, whose position was supported by the Illinois Attorney General:
"To sit there and type notes to each other during the city council meeting and pretend that there's some element of privacy in that when it clearly relates to the administration of that public body and the business before that public body is silly. That's a public record, we're entitled to it, and the court has now so ordered."
But an attorney for the city of Champaign says two individuals do not make up a "public body" under the open-records law. Therefore, she says those communications are not government records. Champaign says it will appeal the decision.
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