LIBRARY TRUSTEES MEET AGAIN FRIDAY

by Christian Mower on October 12, 2012

TRUSTEES OF THE CONWAY PUBLIC LIBRARY WILL HAVE ANOTHER SO-CALLED “EMERGENCY MEETING” FRIDAY, OCT. 12.

THE LIBRARY’S WEBSITE SAYS THE BOARD WILL MEET AT 3 P.M. IN THE HAM COMMUNITY ROOM AT THE LIBRARY.

TRUSTEES ARE FACING AN OCT. 14 DEADLINE TO RESPOND TO ALLEGATIONS OF MISCONDUCT MADE BY FOUR LIBRARIANS AGAINST LIBRARY DIRECTOR TARA THOMAS. IT’S NOT CLEAR IF THE BOARD WILL MAKE ANY INFORMATION PUBLIC AFTER THE OCT. 12 SESSION OR NOT.

ED ALKALAY – THE LAWYER REPRESENTING THE FOUR LIBRARIANS – WHO COMBINED HAVE WORKED AT THE LIBRARY FOR MORE THAN 75 YEARS – SAYS HE HAS GIVEN THE BOARD FORMAL AFFIDAVITS RELATED TO THE CASE.

THE BOARD MET EARLIER THIS WEEK IN A NON-PUBLIC SESSION, PRESUMABLY TO DISCUSS THE CHARGES AGAINST THOMAS.

THOMAS AND THE TRUSTEES CAUSED A PUBLIC UPROAR IN SEPT. 2012 WHEN IT WAS ANNOUNCED THE LIBRARY WOULD UNDERGO A RESTRUCTURING PLAN THAT THREATENED THE JOBS OF THE FOUR LIBRARIANS.

SINCE THEN, PUBLIC SPEAKERS HAVE CALLED ON THE BOARD TO FIRE THOMAS – OR AT LEAST PLACE HER ON ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE WHILE THEY CONSIDER THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST HER.

ALKALAY HAS SAID HIS CLIENTS ARE UNCOMFORTABLE GOING TO WORK WITH THOMAS STILL AT THE LIBRARY – AND THE SITUATION IS AFFECTING SOME OF THEM PHYSICALLY.

THE BOARD HAS PUBLICLY APOLOGIZED FOR THE WAY IT HANDLED THE RESTRUCTURING PLAN – AND HAS KILLED THE PLAN ITSELF.

AT LEAST ONE PUBLIC SPEAKER HAS ALSO CALLED FOR BOARD CHAIR LINDA FOX PHILLIPS TO RESIGN.

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