Bellwood Public Library

Attorney General Inquiry into Bellwood Public Library Board –

BELLWOOD, IL. (ECWd) –

The Attorney General’s Office of the Public Access Counselor (PAC) has now opened in inquiry into the actions of the Bellwood Public Library Board of Trustees from April through June 2016. 

Violations of the Open Meetings Act are Class-C criminal misdemeanors under the statute. 

Assistant Attorney General Neal Olson sent a letter to Bellwood Public Library Board President Mary Clements on 6/16/16 asking that she explain the Board’s recent actions, covering a host of alleged OMA violations from closed meetings being held improperly and without proper cause for a closed meeting, members of the Board meeting in secret to discuss Library business when such discussion belonged in an open public meeting, and the bizarre situation on 6/8/16 where Trustee Dorothy Clark-Smith was not allowed to participate in a board meeting by telephone. 

The Bellwood Public Library Board is under intense public scrutiny and criticism due to what are alleged to be continued violations of the OMA regarding excessive use of “closed sessions” to hide Board business from the public. 

Trustees such as Regina Greene, Mary Clements, J.B. Carr and others are also being called out by members of the Bellwood community for what is perceived to be outrageous and abusive misspending on trips to American Library Association conferences that grossly exceeds the average spending on such conferences by trustees of public libraries similar in size and financial resources to Bellwood. 

greene-payment

Click to enlarge

Records show that Ms. Greene, in particular, takes checks for $1,000+ in advance of trips, which sometimes last 7 days. It is unusual if not unheard of for public library board members to legitimately need to travel for a full week and receive payment in advance at a rate of $150/day in per diem for such travel. 

During recent board meetings, members of the public have confronted Ms. Greene and the other spendthrift board members and have asked such lavish spending to end and for the Board to start producing receipts to justify their spending. To this point, Ms. Greene and her fellow Bellwood trustees have apparently refused to comply with the public’s demands for accountability, transparency, and responsibility.

 

2016-06-16-Bellwood-OMA-Violation-6-8-16

.
Please consider a donation to the Edgar County Watchdogs.
[wp_eStore_donate id=1]
.

5 replies »

  1. It seems like the IL States Attorney needs to investigate the Bellwood Library board for misuse of public funds. Perhaps the Chicago Herald or Tribune can run an expose on these trustees. Having local library Board Trustees go on out of state junkets on the taxpayer dime is ridiculous. Remember the scandal at Bell, California.

  2. It is a concern about the putting things into closed session when not warranted. Also, I have not heard of trustees going on 7 day trips like discussed here. Generally it’s hard for employees to be allowed that long of trip, let alone not being required to provide receipts for some meals, etc.
    If there is not a Board policy against trustees traveling with no oversight for this length of time – there should be a policy.

    • A standard professional conference is for at most 3 days. Typically, these are structured for Mon-Tue-Wed of a week or for Wed-Thu-Fri of a week. I have never encountered a conference that lasts for 7 days and have attended many professional conferences in my career. It has been my experience that a legitimate conference has an arrival day with events in the evening, a full day of events the middle day, and then a departure day with morning events (after which everyone is expected to depart for home). A 7-day conference is unheard of at least in my professional field.

    • Great point, and then the next question would be is Ms.Greene taking vacation days from her job at Bellwood School District 88, where she works at the Administration Building as the Business Manager over Accounts Payable….. or is she just getting paid even though she is away for 7days …. ???? It’s amazing that the school district is ran by the same circle…Baxter ,Greene, Thurman….., and they have Hendricks as there pretend Superintendent, while they pull the strings to their advantage. …if you think the library is appalling with their tactics, the tricks at the School Board with contracts and accounts payable that Baxter, Greene, Thurman control, the family tree of relatives and friends that only get the jobs, and misappropriation of funds would make the library board look top rated….

Leave a witty comment