Orland Park library trip to Chicago called overpriced, overbooked
The Orland Park Public Library Board plans to spend $6,700 for hotels rooms in a city that can be easily reached by train and a conference that offers questionable value, a citizens oversight group argued recently.
The Edgar County Watchdogs (ECW) said five library employees are expected to attend the three-day-long American Library Association (ALA) conference in June in Chicago.
On its Illinois Leaks website, the ECW accused the board of a history of paying large sums for staffers to go to conferences, including a separate plan to spend nearly $3,000 to send 16 staff members to two other conferences.
"It begs the question: Is this spending ever necessary, do these staffers ever learn anything truly worthy at these conferences, and does the public ever actually benefit from all these public employees going off on adventures outside their usual workplace (while collecting their full salaries as if they were at their desks working)?” the ECW posted.
The ECW questioned the worth of sending five employees to attend all three days of the event at a cost of $300 each, adding that if nothing else, the tickets could have been purchased earlier at $285 apiece.
The group also argued that since Orland Park is a suburb of Chicago, the attendees could use Metra commuter trains to get to the conference rather than paying for downtown hotel rooms.