Did the library board jump the gun and hire the first eligible candidate for a replacement for the recently retired Bill Molesworth? Was due diligence put aside to quickly kill any further talk of shared librarian resources between Midland and Penetanguishene?
We broke that story after Gerry Marshall let it slip that he was exploring that option with Midland’s Council. The library board chair was quick to go public and denounce the story as “baseless speculation” although nothing could be further from the truth it seems. Only days later Mayor Marshall had some back-paddling to do and released a lengthy letter supporting his position. Furthermore, we have learned that it may actually have been Midland’s Mayor who suggested this to Mayor Marshall only to pull the rug out from under him when the meeting came, possibly due to public backlash from our untimely and inconvenient publishing of the story.
Well, now that we’ve covered some brief history, it seems that the library board has chosen a new CEO and Chief Librarian. While we want to welcome Crystal Budgell’s addition and have to assume that her qualifications will be an asset to the library, there seems to be some question about the process and whether we could have interviewed any other candidates before making a quick hire decision. This top position is very important to the community and it is important that the optics of how the process was conducted be seen as fair.
It should be noted that Council is at arm’s length from the library board and has a representative (Councillor Strathearn) on that board representing the Town of Midland’s interests and to act as a liaison between Council and the library board – whose funding comes largely from the Town of Midland and our taxes.
To learn more about her you can visit her LinkedIn profile by following this link.
It will be great when / if the library board justifies their decision to hire this candidate to the exclusion of any other – before the closing date of the competition, to the community who subsidizes the library. This situation deserves an explanation from our volunteer community-minded library board. What was the rush? Why did you hire before the closing date? Please, board, speak up and come clean on the process.
The library is a jewel in the crown of the community most especially since it serves several very key community groups…. the less affluent, the elderly, children and their families and a large number of the isolated as well as disaffected who rely on music, videos, graphic novels, computers, newspapers and a warm welcoming space.
To be clear: The issue that has caused the stir in the community centres around the process and not our new Librarian/CEO herself.
The letter from Diane Greenfield was tendered to Council and reads
Dear Members of Council
I am very concerned that the volunteer Library Board has hired a replacement librarian after only one interview and long before the deadline posted has expired.
Certainly this would not have happened if the hiring was done through the town. When this opening came so close to Christmas and holiday season it seemed most inappropriate that this was handled with such extreme speed. I very much doubt that this would have occurred in the corporate world.
It is not as if this candidate could come immediately and fill the gaping void they created.
This is a long-term position that will direct the development of the library in this community. Most disappointingly, the hiring seems to reflect the very narrow, and corporate vision of the board members who dominate the board.
Their presentation to council in Sept, only now released, was distorted, self-serving and completely failed to out line the amazing changes that have been happening at the library over the past many years. What is happening now with a volunteer board is extremely disturbing. Even more so when speed, lack of research and lack of transparency are the hallmarks of decision-making.
“Every reply from the mayor is evasive and he falls back on the arms-length position which merely serves to isolate him from any fallout” – how convenient.