LIBRARY BOARD TAKES CRITICISM FOR PROCESS

by Christian Mower on September 28, 2012

FOUR EMPLOYEES OF THE CONWAY PUBLIC LIBRARY HAVE FILED A FORMAL GRIEVANCE AGAINST THE LIBRARY CHARGING THEY HAVE WORKED FOR MORE THAN A YEAR IN AN ENVIRONMENT OF HOSTILITY AND MISMANAGEMENT.

A STANDING ROOM ONLY CROWD OF DOZENS OF PEOPLE PACKED A MEETING ROOM AT THE LIBRARY THURSDAY AFTERNOON AS THE EMPLOYEES – AND OTHER SPEAKERS – TALKED ABOUT HOW UPSETTING THE PROCESS OF THE LAST FEW WEEKS HAS BEEN AS THE LIBRARY PROCEEDED WITH A SO-CALLED RESTRUCTURING PLAN THAT THREATENED THE JOBS OF THE EMPLOYEES.

A FEW BOARD MEMBERS MET SATURDAY AND VOTED TO SUSPEND THE PLAN AND BOARD CHAIR LINDA FOX PHILLIPS ANNOUNCED THURSDAY THE BOARD WAS FORMALLY AFFIRMING THAT DECISION AND REGRETTED HOW THE PROCESS HAD BEEN HANDLED.

YOUTH SERVICES LIBRARIAN JANIS MINSHULL WAS ONE OF THE FOUR LIBRARIANS WHO WAS TOLD SHE COULD RE-APPLY FOR NEW POSITIONS THAT WERE CREATED AS PART OF THE RESTRUCTURING PLAN, FIRST ANNOUNCED PUBLICLY ON SEPT. 18TH.

SHE SPOKE ABOUT THE NEGATIVE IMPACT THE PROCESS HAS HAD ON HER AND HER CO-WORKERS AND SUGGESTED THE BOARD START THE RESTRUCTURING PROCESS FROM THE TOP DOWN BY REMOVING THOMAS AND FOX PHILLIPS.

THE OTHER THREE LIBRARIANS WHOSE JOBS WERE THREATENED ALSO SPOKE – THE FOUR OF THEM HAVE MORE THAN 80 YEARS COMBINED EXPERIENCE.

OTHER SPEAKERS CRITICIZED THE BOARD FOR THE WAY IT HANDLED THE PROCESS WHILE LIBRARY DIRECTOR TARA THOMAS’ SISTER BROKE DOWN AND SOBBED WHILE DEFENDING THOMAS. ANOTHER SPEAKER USED A POEM TO SUGGEST A WAY TO MOVE FORWARD AND HOLD PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS WHILE STARTING A HEALING PROCESS.

FOX PHILLIPS SAID THE BOARD COULD NOT RESPOND TO QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FORMAL LEGAL GRIEVANCE AT THE MEETING BUT MORE THAN ONE BOARD MEMBER STRUGGLED EMOTIONALLY IN APOLOGIZING FOR THE WAY THE SITUATION HAD BEEN HANDLED.

A PETITION SIGNED BY MORE THAN 30 PEOPLE WAS SUBMITTED TO THE BOARD DEMANDING THOMAS BE FIRED.

THE BOARD WILL HOLD ANOTHER PUBLIC MEETING TO DISCUSS THE MATTER THURSDAY, 0CT. 4.

Leave a Comment