VAC: FOIA Policy
Pursuant to the provisions of the Illinois Freedom of Information ACT (5 ILCS 140) and in the interest of providing transparency for this office, the following information is made available to the general public:
OFFICE:  Veterans Assistance Commission of Peoria County (VACPC)
VACPC STAFF:  The VACPC staff consists of one fulltime VA accredited service officer, 1 administrative assistant and 8 volunteer drivers for our daily Danville & Iowa City VA Hospital schedule and local VA outpatient clinic. From time-to-time, we have a work-study intern who receives a minimum wage paid by the VA.
VACPC BOARD:  The VACPC office has a governing board referred to in the law as the “Commission”. The membership of the Commission Board consists of a delegate and an alternate from each endorsing veteran’s organization that operates within Peoria County. The Commission Board annually elects an executive board consisting of a president and vice president. The candidates are selected from the Commission’s membership. The Commission Board also selects and elects the superintendent. Click on the link below for a listing of the VACPC Board Members for the fiscal year of 2010. They approve the operating policies and the annual budget.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that anyone has the right to access information except to the extent that certain records held by this office are protected from release by FOIA exemptions and the Privacy Act. However, it shall be the policy of this office to release allowable information to the fullest extent of federal and state laws.
How to submit a FOIA request?   All requests to inspect, copy, or certify public records maintained by the VACPC must be submitted to the VACPC in writing. We encourage you to use the convenient FOIA Request Form that we have provided, which is available online and at the VACPC office. While the VACPC will review all written requests in any form, a request must contain, at a minimum, the following:
- The Requestor's name
- Either the Requestor's mailing address, e-mail address, or telephone number
- A description of the public records requested
- A statement of purpose, indicating whether the Requestor intends to use the records, or the information derived from those records, for sale, resale, solicitation, or advertisement for sales or services
- A statement of whether the Requestor is, or represents, news media or a non-profit, scientific or academic organization; and
- A statement of whether the principal purpose of the Request is either (i) to access and disseminate information concerning news and current or passing events, (ii) for articles of opinion or features of interest to the public, or (iii) academic, scientific or public research or education.
- If applicable, detailed justification that would support a waiver of any reproduction, certification or mailing fees.
Where should you send your request?   Direct your written request to any of the listed FOIA officers using the VACPC office address, fax number or e-mail address provided at the top of this page.
What types of records are available to the general public?   Public records such as office budgets, audits, policies and procedures, transportation data, and other administrative functions are available upon request. Our doors are open. Simply make an appointment and we’ll work with you on your request for administrative records. Some of the records that might be held in the VACPC office may be exempt from reproduction under the FOIA and/or other applicable federal and state laws. For specific information pertaining to an individual’s file, provide us with your FOIA request form along with a signed release form from that person granting permission for access to those private records. If the individual is deceased, provide a copy of the death certificate and a release form from the executor of the estate. In no case will the names and addresses of beneficiaries, if known, be provided as this information is protected by other statues.
What about Veterans Administration and military records?   We will assist you as much as we can, but most requests for these specific types of records are best directed to the main source of that information.
- Military Records - for a person’s military records you should submit your request to the National Military Records Center. You may go to www.archives.gov for information on how to process their request application.
- VA Records - for a person’s Veterans Administration records or claim information you should submit your FOIA request directly to the VA for information regarding the specific categories listed below. Go to the VA’s website for details in processing a FOIA request for VA records at www.va.gov – then go to “FOIA” at the bottom of their home page. Those categories of records are:
- Medical Records – submit the request to the Director of the VA facility where the individual was last treated or to the FOIA/Privacy Act Officer, Veterans Health Administration.
- National Cemetery Records – submit the request to the Director, National Cemetery Area Office or the FOIA/Privacy Act Officer, National Cemetery Administration.
- Benefit Records – submit the request to the FOIA/Privacy Act Officer at the VA Regional Office serving the individuals jurisdiction or the FOIA/Privacy Act Officer, Veterans Benefits Administration. These records encompass the wide range of veterans benefits such as; compensation, pension, vocational rehabilitation, education, home loan guaranty, etcetera.
Are there any fees charged for this service?   Possibly. The fees levied by this office conform to the law. We will notify you if your processing fees will exceed $150 and we’ll give you a cost estimate and offer you the opportunity to narrow you request. Payment is by check made out to the Veterans Assistance Commission of Peoria County and is due at the time of delivery. No credits cards are accepted.
What about response time?   The PCVAC will respond to each written request to inspect, copy, or certify public records in a manner consistent with the deadlines prescribed by law. However, you must realize that we function on a first-in, first-out basis. If your request is large or may be time consuming, we may contact you and attempt to negotiate a more realistic time schedule for delivery. Copies of public records will be provided upon payment of a copying fee, if applicable, as provided above. If requested, copies of public records will be mailed after the VACPC receives payment of the actual cost of postage and copying.