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May 26, 2024

Two Abrupt Resignations of Key Staff at Orland Park Public Library –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On June 7, 2016

Orland Park, IL. (ECWd) –

Two key employees of the Orland Park Public Library have resigned abruptly with little explanation, less than a month after spending they engaged in for a trip to San Francisco was publicly questioned. Both employees also feature prominently in a new book released last month that details years’ of wasteful spending at this troubled public library in the southwest Chicago suburbs. 

Robin Wagner, the Library’s former Assistant Director, submitted a letter of resignation dated April 14th (for a final work day of June 1st). Jason Rock, the Library’s former Virtual Services Manager, appears to have notified Library Director Mary Weimar he was leaving on May 10th, with his resignation day being May 12th. 

On May 9th, the Safe Libraries website ran an article questioning the wisdom of sending Wagner and Rock all the way out to San Francisco for a conference that cost taxpayers $4,000+ (not including the payroll expense of having two high-ranking staffers traveling for three days). At the time, Safe Libraries criticized the spending and asked if Library staff could have found similar training online as webinars or in the Chicago area…or if the Library could have saved money by sending one, instead of both, of these staffers to San Francisco on the public’s dime.  

The book SHUT UP! The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment by Megan Fox and Kevin DuJan has several chapters devoted to spending abuse at the Orland Park Public Library, including board members and other Library officials forcing taxpayers to pay for what essentially seem to be “free” vacations, as the Library representatives who take these lavish trips never seem to return to the Library with any proof they learned anything or any presentations they give to show that the conference spending was worthwhile in any way. 

Since public tax dollars should only be spent in ways that benefit the public, it is valid to question whether employees need to travel on airplanes and stay in hotels and be fed with tax money if they are not returning to the public facility with learnings and presentations to other employees that make all that public spending benefit the public. Libraries routinely claim they need more money and want to raise tax levies, but if they are spending tax dollars on “free” trips for employees and not books and other library resources for the public, then people should question whether tax levy increases for public libraries are wise. 

Wagner and Rock were both also criticized in SHUT UP! for their involvement in other controversial matters, including Wagner acting as FOIA compliance officer in matters that resulted in litigation that the Library lost and Rock making social media postings that caused concern about how he viewed his role as a manager at the Library. 

Since Wagner and Rock took the $4,000+ trip to San Francisco in March 2016 and they both soon after decided to leave the Orland Park Public Library, the public should question whether spending so much money on employee conference travel is prudent. If Wagner and Rock were thinking of leaving the OPPL in May, it seems they should have in all fairness to the public canceled the March San Francisco trip or allowed other employees who planned on continuing to work at the OPPL beyond May to go in their places. 

If there was already an argument that public money was not well spent on sending this pair to San Francisco for three days, then the fact that neither of them work at the OPPL any longer just two months after their expensive trip calls into question the wisdom of approving such lavish travel plans in the first place. Whatever they learned in San Francisco — if anything — was not only not passed on to any other employees but now neither of the two conference attendees are still on staff at the OPPL. 

That’s more than $4,000 spent without any public benefit to show for it. Can the public afford to keep funding travel expenses like this for employees who appear to use such trips as last hurrahs before quitting their jobs? 
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  • Mitch
    Posted at 17:14h, 07 June Reply

    These resignations weren’t abrupt.

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 17:28h, 07 June Reply

      So they planned on resigning and took the trip on the taxpayer dime anyway? Is that what you are saying?

      • Mitch
        Posted at 17:35h, 07 June Reply

        Doesn’t matter if they were. But what am I saying is what I said. The resignations were not abrupt.

        • David
          Posted at 18:39h, 07 June Reply

          “Mitch says:
          Doesn’t matter if they were.”

          You’re kidding me! It does not matter if they planned on resigning and took the free trip resulting in over $4,000 of wasted Orland Park taxpayer dollars??? How can you be so blase about this abuse? Or this just standard operating procedure at the OPPL and the taxpayers be damned?

          • Mitch
            Posted at 08:53h, 08 June

            I am not kidding. There is no abuse.

    • SafeLibraries
      Posted at 22:27h, 07 June Reply

      These resignations occurred the day after then days after the exposé on SafeLibraries. This is what the author said. That is likely why he called them “abrupt.”

      In one case, it occurred the day after the exposé, then that guy left a whopping two days later, if I understood things right. Sounds pretty abrupt to me. Two weeks isn’t abrupt but two days is.

      And regarding the Assistant Director resigning, that’s pretty abrupt too, given “abrupt” means “sudden and unexpected.” Did anyone expect Robin Wagner to resign? No. I certainly didn’t and I wish her well. (I know very little about Jason Rock to have an opinion either way.) It was sudden and unexpected, especially in light of Jason Rock having just resigned so abruptly as well.

      And no one expects multiple resignations.

      Synonyms: sudden, unexpected, without warning, unanticipated, unforeseen, precipitous, surprising, startling.

      I’ll say I did not expect resignations based on disclosures about wasteful travel expenses.

      We are talking about a library where the director repeatedly covered up child pornography viewing and told a sexually harassed library employee don’t let the door hit her on the rear end if she didn’t like being sexually harassed by Internet p0rn viewers; and one of the trustees admitted to making homophobic slurs. If they resigned, that would not be unexpected.

      We are talking about a library they spent over half a million dollars to violate sunshine laws only to lose repeatedly in court and before the Attorney General. Than taxes were raised as a result. If they resigned, that would not be unexpected.

      We are talking about a library where the library director’s husband made a threatening false arrest, fake badge and all, to harass and intimidate Megan Fox and Kevin DuJan. If she resigned, that would not be unexpected.

      We are talking about a library where the library colluded with police and the library’s attorney to fabricate an incident where Megan and Kevin could then be arrested and thrown in jail. All caught on videotape. If she resigned, that would not be unexpected.

      But to resign over travel expenses? That’s abrupt. And to resign over travel expenses when OPPL has been busted for wasting travel expenses in the past but only now they resign? That’s abrupt.

      Maybe it didn’t have anything to do with the SafeLibraries publication. Maybe that’s just a coincidence. Or maybe it’s a useful excuse. Maybe it’s an excuse to file a second SLAPP suit. I don’t know. But I certainly did not expect resignations over travel expenses in a library that covers up child porn, makes homophobic statements, steals then returns gold, repays for all the stolen food, etc. That I would expect resignations over. But travel expenses? I didn’t expect that.

      As always, all that is my opinion, made from NJ, made to a worldwide audience who may happen to glance at this post on this excellent citizen watchdog website then maybe at the comments.

      Those were abrupt resignations and if anyone knows exactly why they happened, we would all be interested to know.

      • Mitch
        Posted at 08:54h, 08 June Reply

        No matter how long your response, they were jot abrupt. One isn’t even confirmed.

        • Joanna
          Posted at 11:31h, 08 June Reply

          It is 6-8-16 and both Mr. Rock and Ms. Wagner are no longer employed by the Orland Park Library. Mr. Rock’s last day of employment was 5-12-16. Ms. Wagner’s last day of employment was 6-1-16.

          Mr. Rock spoke with Ms. Weimar on 5-10-16 to state his intention to resign and Ms. Weimar documented that resignation at that time. Mr. Rock’s termination papers were completed and his final check issued on 5-12-16. In addition to his final salary installment he also was provided with a check for his unused paid days off, totaling approximately $2,800.

          Mr. Rock’s resignation was a complete surprise to staff and there is no record of any staff member being aware of his intention to resign prior to his conference trip.

          Ms. Wagner’s termination paperwork is dated 6-1-16 as her last date of pay as well. There is also no record of her advising anyone that she intended to leave her position prior to her going on the conference trip.

          • Mitch
            Posted at 09:20h, 09 June

            Thanks for letting us know the resignations weren’t abrupt.

          • jmkraft
            Posted at 09:54h, 09 June

            Maybe you should buy yourself a dictionary?

  • Kevin
    Posted at 18:08h, 07 June Reply

    Giving six weeks notice is an abrupt resignation? I’ll send you a dictionary for Christmas.

  • toni parker
    Posted at 21:55h, 07 June Reply

    “Jason Rock, the Library’s former Virtual Services Manager, appears to have notified Library Director Mary Weimar he was leaving on May 10th, with his resignation day being May 12th.”

    Two days notice is not abrupt, Mitch? What DO you define as abrupt? Saying “I quit” and walking out the door?

    • Mitch
      Posted at 08:52h, 08 June Reply

      The author writes he doesn’t even know if Jason Rock resigned.

      • jmkraft
        Posted at 11:26h, 08 June Reply

        I am posting the written communications about this subject shortly…

        • Mitch
          Posted at 15:42h, 08 June Reply

          The ones you say “appear” to indicate he resigned?

  • SafeLibraries
    Posted at 00:09h, 11 June Reply

    And, in another crooked Cook County library:

    “Bellwood Library Trustees Criticized for Oversized Travel Expenses,” by Jean Lotus, Cook County Chronicle, February 22, 2016:

  • Sigh
    Posted at 13:01h, 05 August Reply

    So the initial complaint is that librarians attended a conference for librarians. Conferences introduce new ideas, offer networking possibilities, and stimulate evolution. This is EXACTLY how adult members of a civilized society want their tax dollars spent.

    What strange windmills you tilt at.

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