Sugar Grove Library trustees hope to move forward now that a settlement has been reached with their former library director.
"I think we're definitely united in our goal and we definitely want to be sure we serve the library district the best way possible with the finances we have," Trustee Robert Berman said.
Trustees approved a lump sum settlement of $37,500 for Beverly Holmes Hughes, in addition to the $16,093.75 paid to her last August for unused vacation time and personal days, said Berman and Hughes' attorney, Steve Ekker.
Hughes and trustees issued a joint statement saying the "dispute" between the board and Hughes has been settled and that neither side would have any further comment about the settlement beyond the financial terms, Ekker and Berman also said.
The board has hired a consultant to search for a permanent replacement for Hughes, who was fired in July 2011 after 21 years on the job.
At first, trustees refused to explain the firing, but in August the board issued a statement saying Hughes' employment was terminated because of increasing tensions between her and trustees; because she had spent money without telling them; and because she had not provided financial information to trustees' satisfaction.
The firing triggered a wave of community support for Hughes, including a protest rally. The topic frequently comes up at board meetings during public comment with residents criticizing the board.
Berman is hopeful a finalist can be chosen by March; he said Interim Director Marilyn Boria is not a candidate.
"Realistically, right now sometime in March we'd like to have someone. Marilyn is doing a pretty good job," Berman said. "We hope to have at least one strong candidate identified and negotiating with certainly by March. Obviously, things take time."
A search consultant plans to conduct phone interviews this week with eight of the dozen-plus people who have applied for the position.
Berman said trustees hope to have more information by their next meeting on Feb. 23, but could hold special meeting before then to accelerate the process if needed.