New direction for Carol Stream library board?

Carol Stream's library board is shifting to the right, following the appointment of two new board members who are philosophically aligned with three current fiscally conservative trustees.

The library board had been looking for replacements following the resignation this spring of two longtime board members — Robert Douglas, the board president who became a DuPage County circuit court judge, and Tom Arends, who moved to Chicago.

Library officials announced Wednesday that the remaining five-person board voted last week to appoint Susan Galle and Jerry Clark to fill the vacant positions starting May 16.

Both new trustees have attended meetings of the Chicago West Patriots Tea Party, which is organized by library board member Mike Wade. Wade, along with Trustees David DeRango and Dominick Jeffrey, have previously run for office on the same slate in opposition to what they say are high taxes and improper spending.

Now with a 5-2 majority, the policy direction of the board could be markedly different.

Last year, Wade, DeRango and Jeffrey supported selling the library's 7.5-acre property on Kuhn Road, where library officials had planned to build a new facility. Voters have rejected calls for a new library in three separate referendums. But a 4-3 vote by the board in July kept the property in the library's hands.

The three trustees also were on the losing end of vote to rescind pay increases and new hires of library staff.

Galle, a 10-year resident and Carol Stream Police Department volunteer, said she attended previous meetings on the new library referendum, and wants to make sure those efforts don't resurface.

“Why do we have to have another expense in the village when people are losing their homes?” Galle said. “Where's this money going to come from? It's going to come out of our pockets.”

Clark, an 8-year resident and former cosmetology school operator, said he's going to be open-minded about the Kuhn Road property and other hot button issues.

“I think my approach is going to be in consideration of what is going to get the very best library and facilities in Carol Stream,” Clark said. “With the way things are financially, I think this has to be kept in mind.”

Though there's a philosophical shift on the board, Library Director Ann Kennedy said there won't be a shift in the way the library is run day-to-day, since she coordinates daily operations. But since the board sets the policy and budget of the library, that could impede some of what Kennedy wants to do.

“The board might make decisions that I would not make. But as a board it's up to them to make decisions representing the people of Carol Stream,” Kennedy said. “I hope they bring a level of experience and commitment to the library to the functions of the board.”

The decision to appoint the new trustees follows three closed session meetings in April during which 12 candidates were interviewed.

And while a unanimous vote was taken in open session to appoint Galle and Clark, there was disagreement among the trustees behind closed doors, sources said.

Trustee Mary Hudspeath suggested the board interviewed better-qualified candidates than the ones who were chosen.

“We interviewed some wonderful people who were so well-positioned professionally,” she said. “We could've had excellent input into some issues — human resources and finances — people who do this for a living.

“We had a democratic vote and those two were chosen because the majority chose them.”

Hudspeath, in fact, accused Clark of being “an outspoken opponent of the library.”

“I'm hoping common sense is going to rule the day,” Hudspeath said. “I'm hoping a new majority means a new direction doesn't end the practicality and balanced nature of the work the library has done.”

Clark said Hudspeath is “judging me before she even knows me” and hopes to be able to work with the other board members in a professional manner.

Trustee Jim Bailey, who is acting board president until new positions are chosen at this month's board meeting, said he thought the new library board members would help promote “healthy discussion.”

“There's some differences with board members about the future. But that's good. We get a lot of discussion. If we don't have healthy discussion, than what good are we as the board? You have to look at an issue and discuss fairly pro and con.”

Because Galle and Clark were appointed, they would have to run in the next election in April 2013 to keep their seats.

That's also when the terms of Wade, Bailey and Hudspeath will expire.

Kennedy says candidates will be able to choose from four available four-year term positions and one two-year term spot.

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