Oak Lawn resident Jan Schaller has accused Village Manager Larry Deetjen of embarking on a course of “harassment, bullying and intimidation” after she exercised her rights to free speech in regard to a village issue.
Schaller attended a recent village board meeting and requested that Mayor Sandra Bury and the Village Board “sanction” Deetjen for his actions.
Schaller said that she is a lifelong resident. She said that she tries to stay abreast of what’s going on in the village and she asks a lot of questions, makes comments, writes letters to editors, posts on social media sites and speaks out about what’s going on in Oak Lawn. She told the board that the expression of those opinions has led to bullying and intimidation attempts by Deetjen.
She claimed that Deetjen, beginning in August of last year, embarked on a course of harassment, bullying, and intimidation to try to prevent her from exercising her right to free speech. Schaller told the board specifically, that Deetjen contacted both of her employers after she expressed her opinion.
Case in point, he attempted to pressure the leadership of the church I attend and where I work part-time as the church secretary, to force me to refrain from making and or writing public comments. On December 15, Mr. Deetjen replies to an email I sent to the Village from my personal email account about a scheduled village meeting and cc’d (copied in) the Director of the Oak Lawn Public Library where I also work part-time.
Schaller said that “by contacting her employers, Deetjen crossed the line and that his actions constitute intimidation by a public official.”
Schaller asked that the Board instruct Deetjen to immediately cease and desist his bullying, harassment and intimidation of private citizens. She also asked for a ” public, written apology from Deetjen for these actions and suggested the Board instruct one of its many attorneys on retainer to explain the term ‘civil rights’ to Mr.Deetjen.
The Mayor and board members did not respond, and the next speaker was called forward. Prior to leaving the microphone, Schaller made one last point to Deetjen directly, stating, “I’ve been an Oak Lawn resident long before you showed up in town and God willing, I’ll be here long after you are but a distant, distasteful memory. In my opinion, you are morally and ethically unfit to represent the people of Oak Lawn.”
Deetjen is an employee of the village and reports to the Mayor and Board of Trustees. However, such complaints may be reviewed by the Legislative, Licenses and Ethics Committee. Trustees Michael Carberry, Alex Olejniczak and Tim Desmond are the members of the committee. As of yesterday, no public notice of any meeting had yet been scheduled.
The video below contains the comments by Schaller.