As reported EXCLUSIVELY yesterday in the Oak Lawn Leaf, the censorship of a resident’s negative comment is nothing new in Oak Lawn with the administration finding itself in the same predicament as January 2014, when residents complained that negative comments were removed from the Village’s Facebook while positive comments remained.
Despite a vow of “open government”, “increased transparency” and an “end insider deals”, Mayor Sandra Bury’s administration can’t seem to get beyond petty politics and complaints of using the village’s resources for political purposes.
In January 2014, residents and other individuals who accessed the Village of Oak Lawn’s Facebook Page complained that written comments that have been censored by an unknown employee or consultant.
At that time, 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 making a point that Village Manager Deetjen was apparently not subject to the same rules as the rank and file union employees.
This past Friday, the censorship czar has struck again with Oak Lawn’s administration deleting a negative comment regarding the expansion of the red light camera program in Oak Lawn. Once again, screen shots by the Oak Lawn Leaf indicate additional censorship of a negative comment directed at village officials or their conduct.
The series of posts show that the Village first deleted the comment but that it was apparent to users that someone’s comment was deleted.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits governmental entities from making any law abridging the freedom of speech, interfering with free speech or infringing on the freedom of press.
Recently, Village Manager Larry Deetjen blamed social media and bloggers for the increased scrutiny and transparency demands by the public in the area of crime reports and statistics. Despite the Oak Lawn Leaf’s 2014 story, the Village of Oak Lawn refused to change the manner it which it deletes posts and the full Board of Trustees has failed to take any action to prevent further deletions.