FOIA: Committee Membership & Terms

termsThis request is for data on the terms and membership on the Chicago City Council Committees that are related to police oversight and approval of civil settlements involving the Chicago Police Department and their officers.

The terms and membership data will be used as part of our efforts to track the activities of these committees over the last 20 years. Our research is geared towards exposing the rank hypocrisy that is displayed almost daily by members of the Chicago City Council when it comes to policing in Chicago.

Complaints about policing and police misconduct coming from alderman that have the power to impact both through legislation is really pretty pathetic. This is especially true for alderman that have served multiple terms in the city council and on these specific committees. Then you can add in just how little oversight they have engaged in while they have been in office. We will be producing a report this fall on just how little oversight many of the alderman have conducted despite the many terms in office they have served.

CJP has authored a ordinance created to restructure how the City responds to civil litigation settlements and judgments involving the Chicago Police Department or any of its officers. You can find more information about the ordinance and even register your support for the legislation here.

FOIA Content

To:  City Clerk of Chicago

Subject:  FOIA – Committee Membership & Terms Served

In accordance with the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, 5 ILCS 140, I request that your office provide the following public records: 


Documents sufficient to show (or from which may be derived), membership on the Chicago City Council Committees detailed below for the years 2000-2020.

In order to reduce the burden of responding to this FOIA request, in the alternative to producing all such documents, we would accept as a complete response to this FOIA if you simply provided a list of the yearly membership for each committee.


Documents sufficient to show (or from which may be derived), the terms served for each of the alderman detailed in FOIA A on the City Council Committees detailed below. 

City Council Committees

  • Committee on Public Safety
  • Committee on Finance
  • Committee on Police and Fire

“Document” and/or “Documents” means any documents or electronically stored information of any kind—including writings, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, sound recordings, images, and other data or data compilations—stored in any medium from which information can be obtained either directly or, if necessary, after translation by the responding party into a reasonably usable form.


If the agency withholds any document or information pertinent to the requests made herein, please identify the document or information in as much detail as is possible, and detail in specific language why each document or piece of information is being withheld.

If any information requested herein is withheld on the basis of a claim of privilege or other protection as material prepared in anticipation of litigation or trial, then that claim shall be made expressly in a writing that describes the nature of the Documents, Communications, or Things not produced or disclosed in a manner that will enable us to assess the applicability of the privilege or protection. With regard to each claim of privilege or protection, the following information should be provided in the response or the objection:

(a) the type of Document, e.g., letter or memorandum;

(b) general subject matter of the Document;

(c) the date of the Document;

(d) such other information as is sufficient to identify the Document for a subpoena duces tecum, including, where appropriate, the author, addressee, and any other recipient of the Document, and, where not apparent, the relationship of the author, addressee, and any other recipient to each other; and

(e) the nature of the privilege or protection;

(f) if applicable, the litigation or trial of which he document was created in anticipation.

If any Document identified herein has been lost, discarded, or destroyed, each such Document should be identified as completely as possible, including as to each such Document, its date, general nature (e.g., letter, memorandum, telegram, telex, photograph, computer printout), subject matter, each author or originator, each person indicated as an addressee or copy recipient, and its former custodian(s). In addition, as to each such Document, the following information shall be supplied:

(a) date of disposal, loss, or destruction;

(b) manner of disposal, loss, or destruction;

(c) reason for disposal or destruction, or any explanation of loss;

(d) persons authorizing the disposal or destruction;

(e) persons having knowledge of the disposal, destruction, or loss; and

(f) persons who destroyed, lost, or disposed or the Document or Thing.
I look forward to hearing from you in writing within five working days, as required by the Act 5 ILCS 140(3).  Please direct all questions or responses to this FOIA request to this email address by responding to this email.  


8/7 – Hello,
In response to your FOIA request, please see the attached Letter.
Thank you,

Jorie Johnson
 | Attorney/ FOIA Officer 
121 N. LaSalle St, Room #107 | Chicago IL, 60602 
Direct (312) 744-6625 

8/3 – August 3, 2020
Via Email

8-7-2020 Siska Response Letter

8-3-2020 Siska Extension Letter

Tracy Siska

Dear Mr. Siska:

This letter is in response to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request sent on July 26, 2020 and received by the City of Chicago Office of the City Clerk on July 27, 2020. At this time, I am seeking an extension of five additional working days to respond to the request for one or more of the following reasons identified in 5 ILCS 140/3(e) of FOIA:

( ) the requested records are stored in whole or in part at other locations than the office having charge of the requested records;
( ) the request requires the collection of a substantial number of specified records;
( ) the request is couched in categorical terms and requires an extensive search for the records responsive to it;
( ) the requested records have not been located in the course of routine search and additional efforts are being made to locate them;
( ) the requested records require examination and evaluation by personnel having the necessary competence and discretion to determine if they are exempt from disclosure under Section 7 of the FOIA or should be revealed only with appropriate deletions;
( ) the request for records cannot be complied with by the public body within the time limits prescribed by 5 ILCS 140/3(d) without unduly burdening or interfering with the operations of the public body;
(XX) there is need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with another public body or among two or more components of a public body having a substantial interest in the determination or in the subject matter of the request.

Michelle Levar
Deputy Chief Legal Counsel

Tracy has nearly two decades of experience researching and working within criminal justice systems. When Tracy began pursuing a career dedicate to system reform, he found that no single organization existed to promote evidence-based discussions among law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Recognizing that citizens in Chicago deserved the right to demand transparency in their criminal justice system, Siska established the Chicago Justice Project. He received his Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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