LAWYER FOR LIBRARIANS: THOMAS “NOT COMING BACK”

by Gair on October 23, 2012

THE LAWYER FOR THE FOUR LIBRARIANS WHO FILED A GRIEVANCE AGAINST CONWAY PUBLIC LIBRARY DIRECTOR TARA THOMAS SAYS IT’S OFFICIAL – THOMAS “WILL NOT BE COMING BACK.”

ED ALKALAY SAYS HE GOT THE WORD LATE MONDAY AFTERNOON – AND THAT HE IS VERY HAPPY WITH THE OUTCOME – AND FOR HIS CLIENTS WHO HAVE SERVED THE COMMUNITY FOR SO MANY YEARS.

ALKALAY PROVIDED A COPY OF THE PRESS RELEASE, SENT TO HIM BY TRUSTEE CHAIR LINDA FOX PHILLIPS.

THE RELEASE IS THREE SENTENCES LONG AND READS AS FOLLOWS:

“THE TRUSTEES OF THE CONWAY PUBLIC LIBRARY HAVE ACCEPTED THE RESIGNATION OF HEAD LIBRIAN TARA THOMAS, EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 1, 2012. THE TRUSTEES WILL WORK CLOSELY WITH THE STAFF OF THE LIBRARY TO DEVELOP AN INTERIM PLAN TO MANAGE THE WORK OF THE LIBRARY. THE TRUSTEES LOOK FORWARD TO MAINTAINING THE WIDE RANGE OF SERVICES AND HIGH QUALITY OF CUSTOMER SERVICE WHICH THE LIBRARY IS KNOWN FOR PROVIDING.”

THE RELEASE WAS SENT MONDAY SHORTLY BEFORE 4:30 P.M. AN AGENDA POSTED ON THE LIBRARY’S WEBSITE SOMETIME MONDAY INDICATES TRUSTEES WOULD HOLD A MEETING MONDAY AT 3:30 P.M.

THOMAS – AND THE LIBRARY TRUSTEES – CAUSED A PUBLIC UPROAR IN SEPT. 2012 WHEN THOMAS ANNOUNCED THE LIBRARY WOULD UNDERGO A RESTRUCTURING THAT THREATENED THE JOBS OF THE FOUR LIBRARIANS – JANIS MINSHULL, OLGA MORRILL, KATE DARLINGTON AND BETTY PARKER – WHO COMBINED HAVE SERVED MORE THAN 75 YEARS AT THE LIBRARY.

THOMAS AND THE BOARD TOOK INTENSE CRITICISM OF THE PLAN AND THE BOARD AGREED TO WITHDRAW IT – AND APOLOGIZED FOR IT.

IN PUBLIC MEETINGS, PUBLISHED LETTERS AND NEWSPAPER OPINION PIECES, THE BOARD WAS URGED TO FIRE THOMAS OR PLACE HER ON ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE WHILE IT CONSIDERED ALLEGATIONS MADE BY THE FOUR LIBRARIANS THAT SHE HAD CREATED AN UNPROFESSIONAL AND HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT AT THE LIBRARY.

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