Changes in the way the Carnegie Public Library Board conducts business, manages employees and provides financial documents to the board is once again being addressed by the community.
The push to remove library board chairman Shelia Winters from her post saw more than 29 people attend a Coahoma County Board of Supervisors meeting and the same group approach the Clarksdale Board of Mayor and Commissioners asking for change at the library.
Winters is the appointment of Board of Supervisors President Johnny Newson, who said, on the advice of council, he could not remove Winters but could ask her to resign.
It was pointed out in the county’s meeting that Winters will leave her post as chairman in two months, but will continue to serve on the board for the next two years.
The board meeting with the city saw Ward 1 Commissioner Bo Plunk once again point out a 6-4 vote of the library’s 10-member board can bypass Winters, change board policy and procedure and at least direct the library board’s attorney to caution the board and chairman about potential litigation and the legality of their actions.
A meeting by the Library Board on Tuesday saw them enter a two-hour executive session to discuss potential litigation against the library related to two former employees.
That meeting also saw board member LaFiesta Roland leave the meeting to attend another function and give her voting rights to Joyce Hill. The library board has also violated open meetings laws, has not had a formal public meeting in over a year and continues to record, change and present board minutes that are not accurate.
The library is facing more than $300,000 in roof repairs and legal fees are a main expenditure for the board. The library has also drastically cut back its hours and programs, while revenue has stayed steady.
Former Carnegie Public Library librarian Floyd Council resigned earlier this year after only a few months as the library’s director. Council, a career librarian, cited violations by Winters in micro-managing the library and Winters’ desire to control employees and money at the library.
The board sought to reign in Winters at their May meeting, but library patrons and board members say nothing has changed.
The concerns have not fallen on deaf ears as District 3 Supervisor Derrell Washington and Ward 3 Commissioner Willie Turner both said the situation concerns them and they were willing to talk to those involved to find a solution.
CITY AND COUNTY LIBRARY BOARD APPOINTEES
At Large (Mayor Chuck Espy) – Jacqueline Tyler.
Ward 1 (Bo Plunk) – Jennifer Joyner.
Ward 2 (Ken Murphey) – Chris Coleman.
Ward 3 (Willie Turner) – Joyce Hill.
Ward 4 (Ed Seals) – Rita Hanfor.
The City of Clarksdale levies a tax for the Library that raises approximately $238,000.
Dist. 1 Supervisor (Paul Pearson) - Nancy Foley.
Dist. 2 Supervisor (Pat Davis) - Dena Upchurch.
Dist. 3 Supervisor (Derrell Washington) LaFiesta Roland.
Dist. 4 Supervisor (Johnny Newson) - Shelia Winters.
Dist. 5 Supervisor (Roosevelt Lee) - Kristen Graves.
Coahoma County levies a 2 mill tax for the Library that raises approximately $360,000.