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OIB the bookBridgeport Public Library

Library Board Can’t Catalog Hughes

May 4th, 2016 · 18 Comments · Library, News and Events

The Bridgeport Library Board has gone back and forth about Director Scott Hughes: keep him, fire him, lend him out? Will they ever turn the page?

CT Post reporter Brian Lockhart has more:

After a heated debate Wednesday over his alleged failings as a manager, which included some claims Hughes is being targeted because he is black, supporting board member Sauda Baraka called for a vote to keep Hughes on the job …

None of Baraka’s colleagues on the board seconded Baraka’s motion.

But Board Member Anne Cunningham got the same results with her motion to immediately fire Hughes, even though it appeared most members present had run out of patience with the director.

So the group adjourned. Its next regular meeting is later this month.

“I’m just going to continue to do my job,” Hughes said as he exited the meeting in the downtown library. “I’m a hard worker. There’s always room for improvement, and that’s what I’m focusing on now.”

Full story here.

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18 Comments so far ↓

  • Jimfox

    Let’s not confuse Bridgeport’s Bad-Ass Library Board with The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu!

    Oust the Bad-Ass Bridgeport Library Board, Now!

    www .goodreads.com/book/show/25814351-the-bad-ass-librarians-of-timbuktu

  • BOE SPY

    Ganim wants the library’s budget and Hughes will not give it up. Fran gave up the BOE’s budget and she still has a job.

  • Ron Mackey

    Thank goodness, now let’s move forward and let Bridgeport Library Director Scott Hughes perform his duties and for the Library Board to keep the doors of communication open between both sides.

  • Frank Gyure

    Frank Gyure, The board meeting was a travesty and a disgrace. Generally, personnel matters are held in Executive Session but Scott Hughes does have the prerogative to hold it in public which he has exercised twice where his performance was to be discussed. Board members have been verbally and, last night, physically intimidated. Anyone who has followed Library matters and Library Board meetings via the published minutes on the BPL website would know Scott Hughes has underperformed for a number of years. In the two board meetings, Sauda Baraka has looked into her playbaook of delaying tactics and the rest of the board fell into the trap twice now. In the February meeting, Baraka was able to wrangle a 60-day probationary period. Last night’s meeting was the culmination of the 60-day period and Baraka pulled out the race card, used it repeatedly and incited the crowd that was in the boardroom. Once again, the board members fell into her trap and one board member told me the motion to terminate was not seconded to prevent any type of riot. Furthermore, it seems Mr. Hughes has allied himself with the Ganim Administration and is taking orders from Ken Flatto. The Ganim Administration wants to cut ONE MILLION DOLLARS from the Library budget and Mr. Hughes has already attempted to begin cutbacks although the final budget for FY 2016-2017 has not been approved yet. The controversy over Mr. Hughes has had a deeply divisive impact through all levels of all branches along with demoralizing the library staff. The two useless members of the useless City Council acted shamefully. One was dressed like a clown and the other acted like a streetwalker. One of the above comments has it backwards. Ganim does want the library’s budget under his control and Scott Hughes is ready to give it to him, even before the new budget is approved. Baraka showed a spine in her race card strategy and the board lost its spine. I believe there will be another board meeting in two weeks. We can certainly expect the same crowd to show up. We can expect Baraka will continue her strategy of obfuscation and delay. We will see if the rest of the Library Board gains a spine. Scott Hughes has walked away from managing the library on a day-to-day basis where even restrooms were a casualty of his failure. He also mishandled a state grant despite the board’s repeated admonishment and reminders concerning the grant. I don’t remember the exact amount of money but it was substantial, possibly around ONE MILLION DOLLARS. Basically,The Library is a mess now.

  • John Marshall Lee

    We have numerous Boards and Commissions in the City. A few of them are important and fly below the radar as they are not listed on the City site under Department Directory, then Boards and Commissions where 23 are listed, but not School Building, not City Hall Committee, and not the Airport Commission for instance.

    Library Board is unique in several ways but in others it is just another volunteer group. For instance the City Council has had Sue Brannelly and now Jose Casco as Liaison. What does a liaison do? Well if you find such a reference let all of us know, but at a minimum you might think they keep track of their assigned body. If a CC attends one or fewer meetings as liaison annually you may wonder why they are appointed to such responsibility? Yet such has been the case with this board. So whatever is ongoing with the Library and their Director has not been observed up close and pretty where questions and answers flow, and attention can be directed. Too bad, for employees, managers, Board members, and for taxpayers who supported the past referendum that provided Mil rate funding. What is the vision of each party? Time will tell.

    • Frank Gyure

      JML, do you know who is the CC liaison for the library? Is Jose Casco the Library Liaison? What does a liaison do?? Is it in the city Charter? In many cases, the activity of a board reflects the composition of its members and, to some degree, there may be a “hierarchy” in which some boards may seem more important or independent. My sense is the Library Board almost has a quasi-independent position and certainly more of a hands-on approach. Do we have any issues with the quality or qualifications of the Library Board? Does the present activity of the Library Board differ radically from past Library boards?

  • Mojo

    *** DO AWAY WITH THE USELESS BOARD ALREADY; BPT. LET’S MOVE FORWARD NOT BACKWARDS WITH THE SAME OLD PETTY POLITICAL IDEAS AND SPENDING. HAVE THE ENTIRE CITY GRANTS DEPT. WORK ON FINDING NEW, INTERNATIONAL, FED, STATE AND PRIVATE GRANTS, DONATIONS AND FUNDING FOR THE BPT LIBRARY. ***

    • Jimfox

      City residents voted back in 2009 on whether there should be a new 1-mil tax imposed to generate revenue exclusively for the city`s public library system.
      That referendum passed with flying colors!
      “That a 1-mil tax be levied to establish and maintain a free public library and reading room?”
      The Mayor has no power to take any part of that 1 mil tax from the Public Library. So WTF is Mojo talking about?

      • Mojo

        *** DID NOT TALK ABOUT THE CITY 1-MIL TAX REVENUE IN MY BLOG (?HELLO?). I MENTIONED DOING AWAY WITH THE POWERLESS LIBRARY BOARD AND FINDING NEW WAYS OF GENERATING MORE LIBRARY MONEY THROUGH AN ARRAY OF DIFFERENT GRANTS, FUNDINGS, ETC. AND USING THE CITY’S GRANT DEPT. TO HELP DO IT! SO WTF ARE YOU READING AND NOT UNDERSTANDING? *** WHOOP ***

        • Jimfox

          The purpose of the 1 mil tax is to eliminate just what you’re suggesting, that’s how the public library got in trouble in the first place.
          So when the grant money runs out, then what do you do?
          *** WHOOP ***

          • Mojo

            *** IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE ANOTHER WAY OF HOPEFULLY GENERATING MORE MONEY THAN JUST THE YEARLY 1-MIL TAX MONEY, WHICH IS NOT ENOUGH. IN ENGLISH, IT MEANS FINDING OTHER MEANS TO RAISE MORE MONEY AFTER THE 1-MIL TAX THE CITY SEEMS TO HAVE A PROBLEM GIVING TO THE LIBRARY SINCE THE REFERENDUM WAS IMPOSED! WHAT’S YOUR IDEAS FOR RAISING MORE MONEY FOR THE LIBRARY? *** WHOOP ***

  • Tom White

    Governance of pubic libraries in Connecticut is established by state statute. There is a long history and tradition of dedicated, competent citizens serving on the Bridgeport Public Library Board, independent of Bridgeport politics. For the sake of the residents of Bridgeport, let’s hope the Board and Director can agree on a plan to move forward without the interference the CT post report and Frank Gyure commented on.

  • Bob Walsh

    Jim Fox,
    Below is a link to the section of the CGS that empowers the public to call for a referendum. My reading of this section would not allow for a question that increases spending by one mil but only establishing a separate mil rate for the library of one mil or up to three mils.
    If your memory of the wording is correct, then:
    1) The question was improperly put before the voters and should be considered null and void; or
    2) The question should be interpreted in the manner in which the enabling legislation was worded and a one mil separate tax is what the voters approved. Either way this may have a significant impact on library funding.

    www .cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_190.htm#sec_11-36

  • Lisa Parziale

    Frank, when I was Council President one of my responsibilities was to recommend liaisons to certain Boards. After my recommendation the full council approved the individuals. Under my watch, each liaison attended the respective Board meetings and reported back to the full Council how items on the agenda were addressed and also the outcome of any vote taken. The council members appointed took that responsibility seriously and followed through with reports. I have no idea how it’s handled today, if there’s any oversight by the present Council President, or if the individuals even attend the meetings let alone present any reports.

    • Frank Gyure

      Lisa Parziale, THANK YOU for the background information. Is it part of the City Charter or where does this “LIAISON” responsibility emanate from?

      • Mojo

        *** MAKING MEETINGS AND FROM THE MEETINGS BEING PRODUCTIVE AND ACCOMPLISHING IMPORTANT THINGS INSTEAD OF JUST TALKING ABOUT THEM ARE TWO VERY DIFFERENT THINGS, NO? *** I DON’T KNOW HOW MANY WORK IN THE GRANTS DEPT NOWADAYS BUT WITH A CALL FROM THE MAYOR ASKING FOR SOME EXTRA ATTENTION TO BE GIVEN TO FINDING SOME GRANTS FOR THE LIBRARY, BECAUSE IT WOULD BE BENEFICIAL COME BUDGET TIME TO BE INVOLVED INSTEAD OF THE USUAL ISOLATION FROM THE MAYOR’S ADMIN. AND THE LIBRARY BOARD UNTIL BUDGET SEASON WHEN THE MAIN ISSUE IS MONEY! *** WHOOP ***

  • Frank Gyure

    MOJO. Have you had a bad case of the whooping cough? Have you been to any of the meetings of the Library Board? They probably hold more meetings than most, if not all, boards. Possibly The Directors are highly responsible, involved individuals who are volunteers and who care deeply about the city Library. I would have to do research but a number of them seem to have been on the board for many years. In their discussions, they have a detailed and thorough knowledge of the history and legacy of the Bridgeport Library, the state of affairs TODAY and the direction of the Library in the FUTURE. The previous history of hands-on control of the Library by a city administration led to branch closings and even curtailed hours at the Main Branch. The Ganim Administration has budgeted a ONE MILLION DOLLAR DROP in funding for the Library. The Library does get the revenue stream of 1 mil but considering the neutron bomb effect re-evaluation did to the city of Bridgeport, the rise in Mils will mean each mil will bring in less money. One mil out of the present 42 is greater than 1 mil out of a possible 50 to 52. So even with the mil rate reduction, the library is seeing a possible 20% cut in revenue. The City Grants Dept will have many priorities and the Library would probably not be one of them. The present Library Board is highly knowledgeable of grants possibly available to libraries. If you read the minutes of the board meeting of 2015, you will see the board constantly asking Scott Hughes about a large grant (around One Million Dollars). He kept on saying he was on top of it but then the board learned he blew it. He apologized and took full responsibility. You can access the minutes of Library Board meetings through the BridgeportPublicLibrary.org website.

  • Frank Gyure

    The Library Board meeting was such a fiasco I am writing a letter to the Board. If they will be re-visiting the same agenda, I will recommend that 1) they have the meeting in a larger room, 2) they create a physical boundary between the board and the public and 3) possibly have police present.

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