Ill. court: SIU can't block public's access to staff contracts

Saturday, August 18, 2007

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University can't withhold public access to the employment contracts of SIU president Glenn Poshard and other officials, the Illinois Appellate Court ruled.

A lower court earlier sided with the school in the lawsuit, filed when SIU rejected a request under the state's Freedom of Information Act.

SIU had argued that it already disclosed Poshard's salary, housing allowance, pension and benefits. The university said actual contracts contain private information that should be protected, and cited a 2005 appeals court ruling in a separate case.

But in its ruling Thursday, the appeals court disagreed, highlighting a sentence from the state disclosure law: "The disclosure of information that bears on the public duties of public employees and officials shall not be considered an invasion of privacy."

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