It didn’t take long for Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge Raylene Grischow to rule in favor of Illinois Times in our quest to wrest a personnel file from Secretary of State Jesse White, who claimed that the file of Candace Wanzo, whom White hired after she’d embezzled six figures from Southern Illinois University, is a private matter. After a June 27 hearing, Grischow didn’t let a holiday slow her down, ruling Monday that the file is public and that we’re entitled to fees. The ruling came less than a week after the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the Chicago school board still requires folks to register before attending board meetings, despite a 2018 opinion from the attorney general that the board can’t require the public to fill out forms before meetings providing their name, phone number, place of employment and reason for wanting to watch public officials in action. The board told the paper that answering those questions is now optional – you only have to provide your name and email address to attend a public meeting. It took five years for the AG’s office, which is supposed to ensure open government, to decide the school board case. Fear not. The Sun-Times reports that Attorney General Kwame Raoul, who provided a lawyer for White in the Wanzo matter, is hiring six new lawyers and two administrative assistants to enforce the Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act. That’s twice as many lawyers as before, which should fix everything.

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