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updated: 8/15/2011 5:48 PM

Interim director quitting Sugar Grove Library

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  • More changes are coming to the Sugar Grove Library, which has been embroiled in controversy this summer. The interim director is quitting at the end of the week.

       More changes are coming to the Sugar Grove Library, which has been embroiled in controversy this summer. The interim director is quitting at the end of the week.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer, 2009

  • Beverly Holmes Hughes

      Beverly Holmes Hughes

 
 

Not only is the Sugar Grove Library looking for a new director, it needs a new interim director also.

Arlene Kaspik is resigning this week, according to board secretary Bill Durrenberger.

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Durrenberger said he's been told she is leaving for health reasons.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday to discuss hiring another interim director.

Durrenberger released a statement Friday announcing the reasons, as he perceives them, the board fired longtime Director Beverly Holmes Hughes in July.

Durrenberger said he did so to let Hughes know why she was fired and to dispel "nasty" rumors he has heard.

"I'm doing what I believe they (the four trustees who voted to fire) should have done," Durrenberger said.

In his statement, Durrenberger wrote his understanding of the other four trustees' reasons Hughes was fired:

• Because she did not provide additional or different programming as suggested by the trustees.

• The four trustees had difficulty obtaining from her financial information they wanted.

• That she had made major expenditures or fund transfers without asking for their permission or adequately explaining it to the four afterward.

"If I am understanding my fellow trustees correctly, they are not saying that Mrs. Hughes' actions were illegal or improper in any way," Durrenberger wrote.

Other matters

• Hughes is being paid $16,093 for accrued vacation and personal time. Asked if it was a settlement that ended the dispute between her and the board, she would not comment.

• Last week the board wanted to contract with Alice Calabrese-Berry to help it search for a new library director. Calabrese-Berry is the former director of the Metropolitan Library System.

"What happened to having a public presentation by three firms?" asked guest Mari Johnson, a Sugar Grove village trustee. At its July 28 meeting, the board decided to invite three search firms to make presentations.

Board President Joan Roth said she would have liked to have done that. "We are not alone in looking for a director," Roth said. "The problem is firms are being snatched up." She said she talked to directors at other libraries, and that they "highly recommended" Calabrese-Berry.

• Audience members questioned the board on two of its votes that came after it conducted a closed-door session, accusing the board of illegally discussing matters in that session that should have been discussed in the open. The board cited "possible litigation" and "personnel issues" as its reasons for the session. Even the motion for the closed session drew the ire of the audience, as several pointed out the initial motion didn't cite reasons. Illinois law requires boards to cite specific open-meeting exemptions when closing a meeting.

One of the votes was changing the board's meeting schedule, to cancel the remaining August meeting and a September meeting, as the board wants to go back to having just one meeting a month. Earlier in the meeting, the board discussed changing its bylaws to do that, but Trustee Art Morrical reminded the board that any proposed bylaw change cannot be voted on at the meeting where it is proposed; they have to wait until the next meeting to vote.

Another was the Calabrese-Berry contract. Guests pointed out that it was not a personnel matter, as Calabrese-Berry would not be an employee. Kaspik confirmed the board erred. She did not sit in on the closed session but said that normally a library director or attorney would, and probably would have pointed out to the board it was going off-course in its discussion.

Durrenberger, who presented all three motions, expressed remorse after. "I apologize. I should have known that," he said. Durrenberger is in his first term on the board, having been appointed to a vacancy in November and elected in April.

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