Sandra Bury, the Mayor of Oak Lawn, has been caught once again, on video, “misleading” the public regarding the need for an amendment to a village ordinance. The Oak Lawn Village Board recently passed an ordinance outlawing the solicitation of political contributions claiming that they were “flooded with complaints from employees”.
The ordinance was designed to attack Trustee Robert Streit (Dist. 3) who defeated Mayor Bury’s candidate in his recent reelection campaign by a huge margin. The Village administration has blocked Streit’s email address from receiving or sending emails to the village, including to other village Trustees and the Village Manager.
Bury and Village Manager Larry Deetjen have defended that decision claiming that Streit’s political committee had contacted village employees with a newsletter that included a notice about a fundraiser. At the meeting in which the ordinance was approved, Bury said that there was a “situation” in which one elected official contacted employees dozens of times asking for contributions and support. Streit is not the first elected official to send emails through the village servers and he provided us several, including one in which a State Representative with ties to Bury and other officials endorsed a candidate for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and asked for votes.
The emails of those officials were not blocked.
When the Oak Lawn Leaf requested copies of any and all complaints referenced by the Mayor, we were provided only one complaint from a high ranking employee. The revelation that there was only one complaint and not multiple complaints, as referenced by the Mayor, did not surprise Streit, who said “the Mayor has a huge credibility problem because she will say anything without regard to the truth”.
Three employees who spoke with the Oak Lawn Leaf on the condition of anonymity said that they did not have a problem with the emails. One summed it up for the other employees stating, “all you have to do is delete an email you don’t like or unsubscribe and you won’t receive it again”.
Bury said that the ordinance was not enacted for political reasons and instead was done to protect employees from harassment. However, Bury acknowledged that employees could be “harassed” by anyone soliciting for the girl scouts, churches, or even raffle tickets because the ordinance intentionally does not ban those type of solicitations.
This is not the first time that Mayor Bury has been accused of lying. In July of 2014, the Oak Lawn Leaf reported that the Mayor lied when she claimed that the village was obligated to pay the 111th and Cicero Avenue developer the sum of $5.3 million even though the contract term had expired for over a year. Bury also filed false election reports failing to detail political contributions and was forced to amend the reports in a hearing before the Illinois State Board of Elections.
Streit said that he understands that a Mayor with a willing majority of Trustees can pass “anything they want” but he said that the Mayor should at least “quit lying about contrived issues”.