ORLAND PARK, IL. (ECWd) –
The Orland Park Public Library has been sued again in Cook County Circuit Court, Chancery Division, for continued violations of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. This is the second lawsuit filed against the OPPL for such FOIA violations.
This latest suit, filed Thursday 10/09/14, asks the Court to compel the OPPL to immediately comply with the Freedom of Information Act and produce documents that the OPPL is either concealing or claiming it does not have to produce. These documents are needed for research into potential ongoing wrongdoing at the OPPL as well as an investigation into wasteful and out of control spending by the Library Board of Trustees.
The counts in this suit include:
* the OPPL refusing to produce the browser histories for computers used by certain employees and refusing to provide information about the contents of these computers.
* the OPPL refusing to produce handwritten notes and secret conversations that occurred during Board Meetings in violation of the Open Meetings Act.
* the OPPL refusing to produce a list of the people it has banned from being able to comment on the Library’s Facebook page; this involves the OPPL blocking people who have criticized the Library and preventing them from being able to comment on its public Facebook page.
* the OPPL refusing to produce copies of the hard drives for its graphics department printers; these are needed for a forensic audit of the printers’ activity to determine if certain library employees are using public resources at the OPPL to print materials such as promotional flyers and posters for their side businesses (at taxpayer expense).
* the OPPL refusing to produce copies of videos of Board Meetings in its possession in a format that would enable the videos to be uploaded to YouTube for the community to see.
* the OPPL refusing to produce the notes taken by Library employees at conferences they attended; this involves OPPL employees attending expensive conferences while the public is being prevented from reviewing what was said and done at the conferences to determine if these expenses are worthwhile.
*the OPPL heavily redacting materials brought back from conferences so that the public is blocked from seeing even the names of speakers at the conferences and what topics were covered.
The Illinois Freedom of Information Act requires public bodies such as the Orland Park Public Library to operate in a transparent manner, so that the public can observe and evaluate their activities and decide if taxpayer dollars are well-spent by these pubic bodies. The ongoing actions of the OPPL violate the Freedom of Information Act and prevent proper scrutiny of this public body’s activities.
We pray that the Circuit Court holds the OPPL to the letter of the law and compels the Board of Trustees and Library Management to take remedial action to end the obstruction and games-playing that the OPPL has been engaged in. It should be noted that the Orland Park Public Library claims to be against censorship and any infringement of the public’s access to information (except apparently when that information is embarrassing or damaging to the OPPL).
This suit follows a similar complaint filed against the OPPL earlier in the fall involving other violations of both the Freedom of Information Act and the Open Meetings Act; that complaint is also being heard in Cook County Circuit Court, Chancery Division, alongside similar complaints against the Village of Orland Park and the Orland Park Police Department for related violations of the FOIA statute.
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