Mayor Sandra Bury is coming under fire for deleting comments of Oak Lawn residents on her Mayor Bury Facebook page about a year after being accused of orchestrating the deletion of comments on the Village of Oak Lawn’s Facebook page.
Mayor Bury has taken to deleting comments left by Oak Lawn residents on her Mayor Bury Facebook page, and then blocking those residents from ever commenting again.
Bury recently published a written piece on her political blog about the salaries of Oak Lawn Village employees. Many residents questioned the accuracy of the numbers she used. They took to her Facebook page to question the veracity of the Mayor’s claims, since her blog does not allow comments.
Bury subsequently deleted those comments. She then blocked those people, preventing them from ever commenting on her Facebook page again. Those residents contacted the Leaf.
The Leaf also posted comments to the Mayor Bury Facebook page, linking to a story analyzing the numbers the Mayor used. The Mayor deleted the comments from the Leaf and blocked the Leaf from her Facebook page within 30 minutes.
This behavior comes after the Village blocked the Leaf from submitting FOIA requests. Bury expressed her view about that to reporters stating, “I have no problem with it being shut down.”
After deleting the comments, the conversation appears tilted towards residents showing shock at such high salaries. One dissenting comment that remains points out:
This is exactly what the village wants you to think. Under the union contract there’s suppose to be a certain amount of guys on shift. Now, the village doesn’t want to hire more personnel so the only option is for the guys to work overtime.
What’s a joke is the village (bury administration) doesn’t want too hire more personnel to alleviate the cost of the overtime. Wouldn’t that be the obvious solution?
Sandra Bury ran a mayoral campaign focused on openness and transparency in government. However, this is the second time in Bury’s short tenure as Mayor that she has been accused of censoring comments on Facebook. Despite a vow to have an “open government,” “increased transparency” and an “end to insider deals,” Bury’s administration has been continuously engaged in political battles to silence its critics.
The latest complaint being leveled by residents and other individuals comes on the heels of the Oak Lawn Leaf story last year in which residents complained that their comments on the Village of Oak Lawn’s Facebook Page had been censored by an unknown employee, Bury or a political consultant.
The Oak Lawn Leaf, acting on complaints of its readers, reviewed the Village’s Facebook Page as well as screen shots of comments that were posted by residents and then mysteriously removed because they were critical of the Mayor or embattled Village Manager Larry Deetjen.
When Mayor Bury posted a “YouTube” holiday message to the Facebook page, comments such as one from Mary K. Barton that said,”Very Well Done” remained posted while a comment from Deb Klos Handzik, that posted the village’s policy on drug and alcohol testing for employees was deleted.
Handzik, a village 911 emergency dispatcher, was apparently making a point that Village Manager Deetjen had seemingly not been subject to the same rules as the rank and file union employees.
Likewise, a comment by Bill Flanagan was removed after he questioned why the Village Manager was not in jail after crashing a village vehicle. Flanagan correctly predicted that the comment would get “removed like some others.”
In the original story concerning the Village’s Facebook page, Oak Lawn resident Mickey Depre confirmed that she was “blocked” from the Village of Oak Lawn Facebook page after posting comments that were not complimentary of Mayor Bury. Depre commented on the Oak Lawn Leaf Facebook page, which is open for all comments, “I just realized I am banned from making a comment on the Village of Oak Lawn Facebook page. I was banned from the Oak Lawn Patch page as they didn’t like a feedback comment about a story they wrote. But I have never commented before on the Village page. More proof that those two work hand in hand.”
Trustee Robert Streit said that he too was a victim of the Mayor’s censorship when she refused to publish community news he had submitted for the Village’s electronic newsletter. Streit started his own newsletter shortly thereafter to distribute in his own district.
Streit said that he would hope that the Mayor would reconsider her stance on censorship. “In the years that I’ve been on the board, I’ve had supporters, and at times people that disagreed with my views. I’ve always tried to respect a resident’s view even if it may be contrary to my position. I think it does a disservice to people when you censor comments,” said Streit.