Carol Stream library director on firing line again
The Carol Stream Public Library board will try again Wednesday to give Director Ann Kennedy the pink slip.
The seven-member board last week voted 3-1 to dismiss Kennedy, a 20-year employee who has been director for the past six years. But two trustees abstained and one was absent; members learned the following morning that their bylaws required four votes or a majority of trustees present to make the firing official.
So board President Mike Wade called for a new meeting to again discuss Kennedy's firing.
Wade was joined last week by trustees Dominick Jeffrey and Jerry Clark in voting to dismiss. David DeRango and Susan Galle abstained, Mary Hudspeath voted against, and Jim Bailey was absent.
"We didn't botch anything. It was a matter of Robert's Rules," Jeffrey said Tuesday. "Normally it would fly, but according to Robert's Rules, we need four (votes). We'll go back and look at it one more time. If we don't do it, we don't do it."
Wade hasn't publicly discussed the reasons why he wants to fire Kennedy, though a four-page document distributed to trustees and obtained by the Daily Herald outlines several "issues of communication."
Wade could not be reached for comment Tuesday. But to fire Kennedy, it appears he'll either have to persuade at least one of the two trustees who abstained to join him or hope that five or fewer trustees attend so the three votes he already has will represent a majority of those present.
On Tuesday, DeRango said he's considering voting this time but is waiting for advice from library attorney Britt Isaly. At question is whether DeRango's vote would be a conflict of interest.
His wife, Linda DeRango, a former library employee, filed suit against the library last year for wrongful termination. She says she was fired because she didn't support the library's April 2007 referendum push to build a new facility, and she argues that Kennedy and other administrators made active support of the referendum a "'de facto' term and condition of continued employment and advancement," according to the suit.
The suit is pending in federal district court.
"As long as there's not a conflict of interest, I'll make a decision at that point," David DeRango said.
Kennedy said Tuesday she believes DeRango should continue to abstain. But she also said there's an "80 percent to 85 percent" chance she will be dismissed.
Hudspeath said it's logical to think Wade has the votes or he wouldn't be calling another meeting. It's the second time he's called for an additional meeting to revote on an issue.
"If he does everything the way he did, he will have the results he wants," she said.
Galle, who also abstained, said at the time she didn't know if the board was "really looking out for the best interests of Carol Stream."
She could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Galle and Clark were appointed to the library board in May to fill two vacancies. Both met Wade through his Chicago West Patriots Tea Party group. Wade also is aligned with DeRango and Jeffrey, who ran on the same slate in opposition to what they say are high taxes and improper spending.
Jeffrey said he will reaffirm his vote Wednesday.
His girlfriend, Elaine Wierdak, was also a library employee opposed to the building of a new facility, and she sued the library after being fired in April 2009. She claimed in her suit that she was dismissed for campaigning for Jeffrey.
Wierdak settled out of court with the library in 2010.
"After the election, she was fired. You could call it a coincidence," Jeffrey said. "(Kennedy) targeted the people in the circulation department. They were targeted because they didn't agree with the $26 million library she wanted."
Jeffrey said his vote to dismiss Kennedy isn't an attempt to get back at her.
"The board has delegated so much power to Ann Kennedy that she wants to abuse the hell out of it," Jeffrey said. "(Before I was elected) every board meeting I went to, it was all rubber-stamped. This new board wants to use the power to direct the library and direct her to manage it. And she doesn't want to do that."
Bailey, the trustee who didn't attend the last meeting while on vacation, said he also won't be able to make Wednesday's session — which he told Wade last Friday. He said he's upset Wade "ignores that to push his agenda," especially because the library's attorney recommended all the trustees be at any meeting in which Kennedy's dismissal is discussed.
Bailey said Kennedy received a positive performance review this year and that he has "great difficulty" trying to find any issue with her communication skills.
"Mr. Wade does not like Mrs. Kennedy. Since day one he's been on a vendetta to get her fired. There's no secret about that," Bailey said. "And now he ... has that power because he controls the votes on the board. This is all a vendetta because Kennedy fired the girlfriend of Mr. Jeffrey and the wife of Mr. DeRango for performance issues."
Wednesday's meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Horizon Room of the library, 616 Hiawatha Drive.
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