No mediation between Sugar Grove Library board, fired director, after all
There won't be mediation between the Sugar Grove Library board and the director it fired after all.
The board Thursday voted 4-3 Thursday on a motion by Vice President Art Morrical. Morrical, Joan Roth, Julie Wilson and Bob Bergman voted in favor, and Daniel Herkes, Anthony Oliver and Bill Durrenberger voted against.
"I'm very angry at one board member — Julie — who changed her mind," Oliver said. "I'm just ashamed to be a part of this library board."
Wilson did not explain her vote during the meeting, and could not be reached for comment Friday.
On Oct. 13, Wilson voted in favor of pursuing mediation with former director Beverly Holmes Hughes. Wilson had voted to fire her in July, along with Morrical, Roth and Bergman.
Oliver had suggested trying mediation to rehire Hughes as a way to save money, believing the library can't afford to hire a firm to find a new director or the salary a new director is likely to command. Hughes was paid in the mid-$50,000s. The American Library Association says the going rate for a library Sugar Grove's size, in the Chicago area, may run over $100,000.
Herkes said the personality conflict on the board "at this point is seemingly insurmountable," and the board would not be able to agree even on what it wanted to ask of Hughes in mediation. Those who fired her did so because, they said, she spent money without the board's approval, didn't provide them with financial information they wanted, and didn't provide programming they had suggested.
Durrenberger said Morrical's motion "blindsided" him, and he questioned its legality.
Morrical said one reason he opposed mediation was that Hughes wanted the board to pay her attorney's fees for the mediation. Durrenberger said that was incorrect, and Hughes' attorney, who was sitting in the audience, told the board they had only asked for the library to pay the costs of a mediator, he said.
Morrical then said he had been misinformed.
"This is the democratic process. It just is," Herkes said Friday afternoon.
The board is now left with figuring out whether it wants to hire a search firm to look for a new director, or do the looking itself. It has solicited proposals from several firms. The board didn't talk about that Thursday.
So far, Hughes has not brought any legal action against the library, according to Kane County court records. She repeatedly has refused to discuss her firing, on the advice of her attorney.
Hughes was fired in July after 21 years.
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