Orland Park library makes big deal out of little paper, group contends
The Orland Park Public Library (OPPL) is treating a $96.50 restaurant receipt like it's a gold nugget, holding onto it with both hands and refusing to let anyone else see it, the Edgar County Watchdogs (ECW) are suggesting on their Illinois Leaks website.
In fact, even the Illinois Public Access Counselor's (PAC) office can't get the library to offer up the slip of paper, the group contends.
The ECW submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the receipt to library Director Mary Weimar in July, but instead of an itemized list of what was purchased at the Chicago restaurant, it received a credit card slip showing only the total amount paid.
"According to the OPPL’s salary chart for 2017, Mary Weimar has an annual compensation package of nearly $200,000/year," the group posted. "She charged $96.50 at a restaurant, expects the public to pay for that, and refuses to produce a receipt with an itemization of what she ordered at the restaurant. If Weimar, or any other public employee, wishes to hide what she eats or drinks when out living it up in a restaurant then the best course of action would be to pay for meals such as those out of her own pocket and not expense them to the public."
The ECW complained to the PAC, which sided with the group and asked the library to produce the full receipt. As of Aug. 9, the library had not done so, the ECW said.
The library has run into issues with FOIA requests before. It lost a 2014 lawsuit over failure to fulfill FOIA requests and violations of the Open Meetings Act (OMA). It was forced to pay out $55,000 to the plaintiffs and still had to provide the requested documents.
The case cost the library approximately $500,000 in legal fees, according to documents obtained by the ECW.