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Onarga Library used Police to intimidate citizen –

Onarga, IL. (ECWd) –

We previously reported on the Onarga Public Library District’s unlawful removal of an elected (or appointed to an elected position) Library District Trustee, destruction of public records, and failure to post an Agenda,  (read them here).

Here is the latest, with an embellished police report filed by Onarga Library Director, Vicky L. Reetz, against a frequent meeting attendee, Doris Hubner. We believe it is simply an attempt at intimidating Hubner into staying away from the public meetings of the Library.

During its September 17, 2019 Board of Trustees meeting, the Onarga Public Library District’s Director apparently told Doris Hubner, a frequent meeting attendee, that she should quit interrupting the meeting – according to a police report filed by the Library Director.

The only instance heard of an “alleged interruption” on the recording (at about the 16:18 point in the recording) was when Hubner asked what the Director said because she didn’t speak loud enough for people to hear her. Keep in mind, it was a public meeting, and the public had a right to hear the utterings of those participating officials and employees.

Hubner also spoke during public comment at that meeting, and her only comment consisted of asking that a meeting agenda be provided to her (at 6:10 in the audio recording) when attending a meeting without receiving a dirty look from the Director.

For the audio recording of meeting (click here).

After the meeting (which was never adjourned), Hubner did not immediately leave the building as she had noticed in the past that board members stayed after the meeting, sometimes for more than an hour. This time, according to the report, the Director eventually asked her to leave, and she left the building. She sat in her car across the street until the board members left the area.

Here are some of the highlights contained within the Police report filed by the Library Director on Sep 20, 2019 – you can read it below:

  • The Police report alleges “Disorderly Conduct”
  • Vicky L. Reetz is the complainer (Library Director)
  • The Director told Hubner (once) to quit interrupting the meeting
  • Hubner left when asked to leave and sat in her vehicle outside

Our comments on the Police report:

  • We doubt any “disorderly conduct” occurred and consider this an attempt at intimidating someone who attends a meeting and asks questions
  • The only person with any authority during a meeting is the Chairman of the Board (not the Director)
  • There was no interruption during the meeting
  • Hubner left after being asked to leave
  • Hubner, and anyone else, can sit in their cars in a parking spot as long as they want to sit there. It was on a public street and no law was broken.

The Police Officer’s report, dated Sep 21, 2019, suggests that he instructed Hubner what she did at the meeting was unacceptable, and she was to leave when the meeting is adjourned. The meeting in question was not adjourned.  He also told her that when she continues to stay in her car across the street she is borderline stalking.

Here is the audio (click here) of the Police Officer’s visit to Hubner’s house:

We suggest Officer Anderson review the audio of the meeting to verify the accuracy of the report filed by the Library Director, read up on stalking laws (particularly 720 ILCS 5/12-7.3(a-3) and the exemptions found in Section (d)(1) and (d)(2)), and read up on the public’s right to monitor government (found in the Open meetings Act and the First Amendment).

We also suggest he read up on the Open Meetings Act and consider who has authority during a meeting to direct anyone to quit interrupting the meeting (if an interruption actually occurred).

Hubner was only there after the meeting to keep track of events happening after the public meeting. There should be no reason for board members to stay after a meeting while kicking others out of the building. It leaves the impression that those board members are conducting public business outside of a public meeting, and the report indicates that to be true since it stated they were signing checks.

This is the type of thing public bodies do when they try and hide things from the public; they start filing frivolous police reports to intimidate the public into either not attending meetings or to not ask questions.

Read the police reports below (or here).

We suggest the Library Board and Police Department brush up on Federal 1983 civil rights actions that could be taken.

Onarga Police Report_Redacted

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2 replies »

  1. It is not surprising to me that residents might feel this way, and I quote: “It’s a small town library with a budget to match. What corrupt acts do you think the good citizens on the board could possibly be perpetuating?” Oh, please….are you kidding me? And, why accuse the Watch Dogs of “just stirring up things” – honestly….the library has a duty to it’s citizens and they get a sizable sum from the taxpayers money – don’t you care that they are not running their show according to the laws they are mandated to follow and swear to uphold when elected or appointed? Every issue the Watchdogs have taken up is a big RED FLAG so if you want to close your eyes and blame the library’s problems on the Watchdogs or myself that is your choice. A side note: I was once accused by board members when I served on the board, and I quote, “you just want to run things like Chicago” I guess because that is where I grew up in Corrupt Chicago. That says to me that I wanted to run things my way and ignoring all the laws we were bound to……that seems ironic since the library board WANTS to run things their way and ignore the laws—so who is calling the kettle black here? Take 30 minutes to listen to the September board meeting uploaded by the Watchdogs in their article about the Onarga Police and Vicky’s complaint— you will find out that the board approved the August treasurer’s report knowing it was not in balance as they tried to determine what balance was what…the secretary even states she is tired of changing the balances. Really?
    The matter should have been tabled and, it was not acceptable advice that maybe they should get together before the next meeting to straighten it out—remember, this is a PUBLIC MEETING.

  2. Consider whether the library board members violated the open mtg act by staying around and talking …. yeah I get that the mtg was never formally adjourned, but kicking Huber while they talked was also a violation of the open mtgs act.

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