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updated: 7/29/2011 5:41 AM

Sugar Grove Library board gets an earful over director's firing

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  • Citizens for a Better Sugar Grove protest the firing of Sugar Grove Library Director Beverly Holmes Hughes before Thursday's library board meeting.

       Citizens for a Better Sugar Grove protest the firing of Sugar Grove Library Director Beverly Holmes Hughes before Thursday's library board meeting.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Fired Sugar Grove library Director Beverly Holmes Hughes gets emotional as numerous members of the community speak on her behalf during Thursday's library board meeting.

       Fired Sugar Grove library Director Beverly Holmes Hughes gets emotional as numerous members of the community speak on her behalf during Thursday's library board meeting.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Former Sugar Grove Library Director Beverly Holmes Hughes.

       Former Sugar Grove Library Director Beverly Holmes Hughes.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 

Protesters did not get what they wanted from the Sugar Grove Library board Thursday night.

The four trustees who voted to fire its director, Beverly Holmes Hughes, July 14, did not resign. And nobody on the board explained the firing, despite repeated requests from members of the audience. About 60 people attended.

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"We understand your concern ... The four of us who voted for the termination of the director will not be making a statement at this time," board President Joan Roth announced at the start of the meeting, drawing derisive laughter. She would not say when any statement would be made.

"You made a public decision. Explain it," pleaded the first speaker, Lee Erchull.

Trustee Bill Durrenberger, who voted against the firing, said he hadn't commented until now out of respect for his fellow trustees and the assumption a statement would have been issued "relatively quickly."

"There's going to be a statement from somebody pretty quickly, and if not from the board, it will be from me," he said.

Ron Leisher, a member of the Sugar Grove Friends of the Library, said that due to the brouhaha, the group has lost teenage and college softball players who volunteer to move thousands of books from a warehouse to the library for their three fundraising book sales.

"The act that you did has taken that away from me," he said.

Mari Johnson, a Sugar Grove village trustee, called the board "unprofessional" and said the president and vice president had stacked the board in June with two appointees they favored to fill two vacancies so they would have enough votes to fire Hughes. The two appointees were trustees Julie Wilson and Bob Bergman, whose terms had expired April 30 and who did not run for re-election.

Several audience members disputed vice president Art Morrical's statement that he, as personnel representative, had interviewed all people who had applied.

The protesters said they had applied and never were called. The soft-spoken Morrical also angered the crowd because, despite repeated complaints from the audience that they could not hear him, he did not speak loudly enough.

Roth also drew criticism when, announcing a speaker, she mispronounced the last name of Friends president Pat Graceffa, a well-known library and community volunteer.

The meeting was preceded by a picket by about two dozen people. As Morrical entered the building, a protester yelled "Do the right thing for once, Art, resign," and another told him he should be ashamed of himself.

Hughes attended the meeting, but declined to comment, saying her lawyer has advised her not to speak about the matter.

The board agreed to interview search firms Aug. 11, as it figures out how to hire a new director. It also decided to take applications until Aug. 11 for a board vacancy caused by the resignation in June of Sabrina Malano.

Hughes marked her 21st anniversary with the library in May. She was the 2010 Sugar Grove Citizen of the Year, even though she lives in North Aurora, for service to Sugar Grove through the library, leadership of the Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the farmers market and the Corn Boil.

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