EAST MOLINE: F
WEBSITE (30/32 points): The city of East Moline’s website, eastmoline.com, is user-friendly and easy to navigate. The homepage features a calendar of upcoming events, a quick link to agendas and minutes, water bill payments and a “Notify Me” icon. The notification allows users to sign up, using email or text messaging, for various alerts, such as snow emergencies and upcoming council meetings.
Tabs at the top of the homepage are broken down by government, services, community, doing business and general inquiry.
Minutes and agendas for regular city council and committee-of-the-whole meetings are available, from 2012 to March 2017, by clicking on "agendas and minutes" on the homepage.
On the City Council page (under the “Government” tab at the top of the homepage), the names, email addresses, telephone numbers and terms of office are available for the mayor, aldermen, city clerk and treasurer.
Under the “Services” tab at the top of the homepage, users may click on “Freedom of Information Act request,” which contains a link for a FOIA request form and an email for submitting the completed form. The page also lists the email addresses and phone numbers of City Clerk/FOIA Officer Arletta Holmes and Deputy Clerk/FOIA Officer Cynthia Braggs.
MEETINGS (16/25 points): According to minutes listed on the city’s website, there were 121 regular and special council meetings between 2012-2017. The council went into executive session 42 times, or about 35 percent of the time.
The purpose of the closed meetings, including the exemption used to keep the public out, are reflected in minutes.
BUDGET/FINANCIALS (8/35 points): A link to the city budget can be found under the “government" tab at the top of the city’s website.
The page contains links to budgets for years 2015-17. The 2017 budget book is a 104-page document that lists the city’s revenues and expenditures, broken down for each fund or department. It contains a link to its comprehensive annual financial reports, which are based on audited financial statements.
The site also contains financial reports from fiscal years ending in December 2013, December 2014 and December 2015.
Another link contains employee salaries for fiscal years 2015-17.
RECORDS (5/10 points): The Quad-City Times submitted an open records request to clerk Holmes via email on Feb. 20. The request included the number of council meetings held during the past five years and the number of executive sessions that were called during the same time period, along with minutes from the past five executive sessions.
The request also included a copy of expense reports for the week of Oct. 10-14, 2016.
Holmes left a voicemail for a Times reporter the same day, and the two spoke by phone the following day. Holmes said the agendas and minutes of council meetings are available online, along with the city budget.
She said the city council reviews the minutes from executive sessions every six months. Since the last review, two executive sessions have been called. Holmes directed the Times to send an additional FOIA request to the finance department for expense reports.
Kathryn Motzer, who performs payroll and insurance duties for the city, responded to the request on Feb. 22, two days after the initial request was submitted. She said there were no expenses paid during the time period for which the records were requested.
Holmes followed up with a Times reporter on Feb. 27 to ensure compliance with the requests.
The city charges $0.25 cents a page for copies of documents. A minimum charge of $5 is added for mailing.