Bill Nienburg, former Downers Grove Library Board member/Image: Linkedin

On Tuesday night in Downers Grove, a quaint Chicago suburb, the Village Council 4-3 voted to remove the only Republican, logistics executive Bill Nienburg, from its six-member, appointed village library board.

Nienburg publicly opposed repeated initiatives intended to make the library more “progressive.”

As reported by Dupage Policy Journal, in 2022, Nienburg was the only board member who did not support a “drag queen bingo” event for children at the library featuring a male cross-dressing stripper.

The board’s plan to spend approximately $160,000 on an “anti-racism” and also to replace the Pledge of Allegiance with a “land statement,” which would declare that the town was formed on land “stolen by white Christian men from the Indians,” were also criticized by Nienburg.

In another blow to the radicals, Nienburg refused to put his “pronouns” on the library board’s “about” page.

Democrat Leslie Sadowski voted in favor of a resolution to remove Nienburg.

Dupage Policy Journal reports:

Sadowski told a crowd of more than 100, mostly attending in support of Nienburg, that she felt he should be removed because his ideas are “unsafe.”

“This has nothing to do with political affiliaton, and everything to do with dangerous extremism,” Sadowski said.

She said that she offered Nienburg “coaching” on how to get along with his liberal Democrat library board members, but that he refused.

Although Mr. Nienburg did not attended the meeting which ousted him, he sent a letter to Dupage Policy Journal:

The politically active Downers Grove Public Library administration and library board moved on February 28, 2024 to censure nonconforming library board member Bill Nienburg for sharing nonconfidential information with a Downers Grove taxpayer regarding a window painting policy at the library.

In a 5-0 vote the board moved to censure Mr. Nienburg and entered a request to the Downers Grove Village Council for his removal from the board. These actions all occurred when Mr. Nienburg was out of town and unable to attend this meeting and thereby denying him an opportunity to defend himself.

Bill Nienburg began his tenure with the Downers Grove Public Library Board in November 2022.

In this role as a library board member Mr. Nienburg exercised his fiduciary duty to the Downers Grove taxpayer by asking tough questions to and holding the library administration to account.

Last year he asked why a Native Land Statement is read before each meeting, but no Pledge of Allegiance. Suddenly the Pledge is now recited before each meeting.

During budget review Mr. Nienburg asked specific questions regarding increases to certain budget items, as well as how the budget can be proposed with no exact numbers.

And he questioned why the library staff, on its own accord, modified the native land statement with an anti-Christian update associating Christian Churches with native genocide.

In the broader context, this is the same activist library administration and board majority who (1) spent $86,000.00 on the divisive RGW Consultant equity report which cast Downers Grove as a racist community, (2) pushed a Drag Queen Bingo event targeted at children, and (3) developed and recites a native land statement that serves as a virtue signal with no real substance regarding native injustice.

Mr. Nienburg’s censure was not enough to satisfy the board majority.

During the February 28, 2024 Library Board Meeting, board members made disrespectful and mean-spirited remarks that likely violated board policy and by laws regarding respect and civil tone at board meetings. One board member, Carissa Dougherty openly violated Mr. Nienburg’s privacy by discussing his library card during the meeting and was a likely violation of the Illinois Library Records Confidentiality Act 75 ILCS 70/1.

On March 5, 2024, the Downers Grove Village Council voted 4-3 to investigate the removal of Mr. Nienburg from the Downers Grove Public Library Board. Again, no substantive policy violation was identified beyond alleged good governance. However, speakers during public comment made direct points regarding policy and law violations by the library administration and board members regarding the open discussion of Mr. Nienburg’s library card.

At the March 20, 2024, Downers Grove Public Library Board meeting speaker Noel Manley asserted that board member Carissa Dougherty may have violated the Illinois Library Records Confidentiality Act during her attack on board member Nienburg. Ms. Dougherty, during board comments, asserted she checked this matter with an attorney and that this was not protected information.

Note that in a FOIA dated April 1, 2024 an email dated March 13, 2024 was produced from the firm Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins arguing that “card holder status isn’t exempt information under the Library Confidentiality Act…” To test this assertion, in the same FOIA a request for a list of all active library card holders over the age of 18 was made. And the FOIA officer released a 510-page list of 28,031 names Downers Grove Public Library card holders.

Similar requests for active library card holder lists were made to the Westmont Public Library, the Oak Brook Public Library, the Hinsdale Public Library, and the Indian Prairie Public Library District. All denied this requested citing the same language in the Illinois Library Records Confidentiality Act (see attachments).

To compound the inconsistent application of library policy, at the April 9, 2024 Downers Grove Village Council meeting a former library employee spoke at public comment regarding her employment at the library. Specifically, she presented the council with her experience of sexual and criminal harassment from library patrons and the lack of response from the library administration. In fact, when she addressed this matter with the Downers Grove Police, she was placed on an employee improvement plan for failing to follow library protocol. Note that she cited the library employee handbook’s regarding harassment and sexual harassment. A policy that was not enforced. So feeling humiliated and abandoned in by the library administration, this violated woman resigned.

The consistent element of the Downers Grove Public Library’s administration and board majority is to deny due process to any board member or employee who fails to conform to their will.

In the case of Bill Nienburg and the former library employee, if you step outside your lane, you will be punished with selective and unspecific policy enforcement. However, if you violate the law, you get a pass.

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