PHILIP KITTELL JR.
Romeo Library Board
seeking interim director
by CHRIS GRAY
The Romeo District Library Board believes an interim director is the best way to lead the library forward.
Observer Staff Writer
The Library Board decided at its Nov. 13 meeting to reject a proposal from the library union to run the Romeo District Library without an interim director.
Instead, the board has opened up the search for a temporary director to both internal and external candidates.
The library is seeking a replacement for Kristin Valyi-Hax, who resigned from the library director position as of Oct. 25.
In lieu of hiring an interim director, the library's union presented a proposal that said staff and management have maintained services in the past without interruption in the absence of a director, and can do so until a permanent director is hired.
The proposal reasoned that management could report to the board at its monthly meetings and address monetary requests, while staff could provide rationale for those requests.
In turn, the proposal said the library could save on spending tax dollars and not cause concerns within the union.
"Hiring an internal interim director will strain union solidarity even if the person hired was able to stay in the union," the proposal reads. "There is also concern regarding the hired person's return to their previous position."
The board previously sought an internal candidate, but no applications were submitted.
Library Board President Elizabeth Miller said the board didn't accept the proposal because it meant staff would report directly to the board. The library adopted an organizational chart in 2011 that has the board at the top, followed by the director and all others under the director.
"We need someone between the board and the staff," Miller said.
A motion was approved to open the search for an interim director both internally and externally. A personnel committee will bring a candidate recommendation to the board for approval.
The board assigned Michelle Boerman, the library's business manager, to be the point person until an interim director is hired.
The six-member library board is comprised of two representatives each from the communities of Romeo, Washington and Bruce. Leaders, such as Washington Township Supervisor Dan O'Leary, have expressed concerns about hiring a $500 a day interim director. Miller said the board is taking input from community leaders into consideration when selecting an interim director.
The board is bringing in a library law attorney today, Nov. 20 to educate the board on the District Library Establishment Law, the Open Meetings Act and the bylaws and responsibilities of the board. The public can attend the meeting.
"It's imperative for us as a board to understand what our roles and responsibilities are as a district library within the parameters of the law," Miller said.