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Library Board Throws Book At Hughes For 60 Days

February 18th, 2016 · 35 Comments · Library, News and Events

From Brian Lockhart, CT Post

Embattled public library chief Scott Hughes has 60 days to improve his performance or face termination.

In a nearly unanimous vote, Hughes’ bosses, the library board of directors decided Wednesday night to give its tarnished star another chance to salvage his job.

Specifically, Hughes must do a better job communicating with and responding to the board, which came very close to firing him from his $116,000-a-year job, but backed off at the last minute.

Board member Donald Greenberg–who along with three others abstained because of questions Hughes raised in a recent lawsuit about the validity of their appointments–urged his colleagues to reject the 60-day probation.

“It’s not going to work,” Greenberg said. “You know it’s not going to work. It hasn’t worked before.”

But Hughes, who had requested Wednesday’s discussion be held in public, pledged: “I’m committed to staying here and performing well. “I would like to reconcile with this board,” Hughes added, saying he was “not perfect” and has spent time “looking in the mirror.”

Full story here.

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35 Comments so far ↓

  • John Marshall Lee

    The large number of community members present for the 7:00 PM meeting that lasted until 10:15 before adjournment was approved, were able to listen to many Library Board members handle subject areas regarding operations, construction, finance, development of new properties among themselves and with Scott Hughes, Library Director. During that period one vote approved the return of financial reporting to the Board responsibility to Hughes.
    Later in the meeting when the Board would have gone into Executive Session regarding personnel issues dealing with the Director, Hughes indicated his wish to have this held in public session.
    The distance that has developed between certain Board members and the Director has to do with the way they feel and believe their communications and interaction on matters of substance regarding Library responsibilities have been handled. As was said more than once, it is a matter of trust.
    We may be seeing a different form of “Second Chance” in operation at the moment in parallel with the four-year term the electorate provided Joe Ganim. In this case there is no criminal activity alleged, but when trust or expectations are dashed, new grounds for such trust and respect must be found. Trust but verify becomes an important phrase. And 60 days is the time period, starting with much activity today, Thursday February 18, 2016 with budget submission for the 2016-17 budget and certain construction meetings with respect to renovation of the Main Library foyer entrance are at the top of the list. Busy day. Busy time. Lots of community support. Hopefully a firm purpose to change the current interaction by all parties. Time will tell.

  • Bob Walsh

    I guess the choice is to sit in a three-hour meeting or spend three hours reading and trying to interpret JML’s post. Time may tell but some of us just don’t have the time.

    • John Marshall Lee

      I suppose if it takes more than three minutes or three lines it is too much effort, Bob? Why bother answering if you can only disparage (without specific rationale) and if at the end of the day you “don’t have the time?” Get control. Don’t be a troll! Time will tell.

      • Joel Gonzalez

        JML, keep in mind the Charter language that supposedly prohibits city employees from serving on the council was just one short sentence and a whole bunch of intelligent people (Bob Walsh included) didn’t get it. They ran out of time and I’m still waiting for them to show me where the language was in the charter. They were out of control and I knew the bus was going to crash, roll and burn. Looks like the troll was the only survivor.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Walsh has never had an original idea. He was the same way on the council. Bob Walsh is an astronaut. “He takes up Space.”

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Bob Walsh did have some good points on many occasions. When one is on the minority side of the council and the rubberstampers outnumber those reading the material and asking questions, what can one expect?

  • Frank Gyure

    11:17pm 02/17/2016. I just came home from the Library Board meeting. It was much tougher and more emotional than I expected. The fact a Common Council Council person and Ernest Newton came and threatened the Board and one member of the board has been targeted in particular was ugly. Council Person Mary McBride-Lee apparently just found out part of her job is approving ALL CITY BOARD members. Basically, she threatened to remove board members. Ernest Newton threatened all he had to do was have a 50-signature petition to put the Library Mil Rate back to be re-voted upon and basically threatened to take away the Library Mill Rate and have the City completely control Library finances. Library Board member Donald Greenberg’s legitimacy was threatened by an audience member. I myself spoke and said Mr. Hughes’ political activities were not proper and these political activities took his eyes off his main job. Everyone spilled their guts and exposed their true feelings. The CT POST article did not come close to reporting the exposed raw nerves during the meeting. IF I WERE A FRIEND TO SCOTT HUGHES, I would recommend he resign and end this torture. He is a brilliant young man but something has been lost. His heart is no longer in this job. A resignation on his resume with a list of all his great accomplishments would be better than a termination. Scott Hughes needs something new to lift his soul, open his heart and re-energize his mind. That is my most heartfelt opinion.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Frank,
    We live one day at a time. Conscientious folks try mightily to make each day count. Today had several activities in which Scott’s activity and reporting are vital to one or more of the Board members. Let us see what the Library folks make of this.
    You are very correct in reporting parts of the meeting not covered by CT Post or me previously. There was some open-heart sharing ongoing last night by people who find themselves unhappily in opposition. That is so unique within the confines of a City meeting governed by Robert’s Rules of Order. I think it was brave of Scott to request an open session with the public as an audience. I also think it took courage and integrity to tell what bothered you as a Board member attempting to pursue the best possible course for libraries in this community. So here we are. One day later almost. Any lessons learned? Time will tell.

  • Bob Walsh

    Wait a minute. I thought Frank said he was not a member of the board. Now you have JML saying he was.
    Frank, are you a member of the Library Board? Your comments take on a completely different view if you are.

    • Frank Gyure

      NO, I AM NOT A MEMBER OF THE BOARD. I believe JML meant my statements TO the board.

      • John Marshall Lee

        You are correct, Frank. That was my meaning.
        Of course some of the statements you picked up on and reported would be replays of what has been done in the past with referenda in Bridgeport.
        Thinking long-term for the benefit of Library patrons, it would be counterproductive to look to limit the financing of the Library as was a matter of course eight years ago. Another practical issue to those with Council experience had to do with Council liaison responsibilities. Much is made of liaison titles, but what are the responsibilities? If you are a Library Liaison, is it adequate to attend one Library Board meeting per year for instance? Time will tell.

  • Bob Walsh

    Sorry Frank, but this is what JML said “I also think it took courage and integrity to tell what bothered you as a Board member attempting to pursue the best possible course for libraries in this community.”

    • John Marshall Lee

      Bob,
      En français there is a you singular and personal that is tu. In plural you becomes vous and one can tell from the word rather than the context the meaning.
      But you did not give a chance for context to cut in and inform the way it did with Frank.
      You have a terrible need to be correct, I guess, and indicate your problem with others.
      Aren’t we lucky to be on the same side of this issue, respecting Scott Hughes as a person with all his skills and talents, appreciating the work he has produced in the community as Chief Librarian, and hoping that the Board and its executive can find a way to keep those benefits flowing? Time will tell.

      • Ron Mackey

        John Marshall Lee, concerning Bob Walsh you said, “You have a terrible need to be correct, I guess, and indicate your problem with others.” LOL, you have got to be talking about yourself.

        • John Marshall Lee

          Ron,
          I do make a significant effort to be correct. But I do not have “a terrible need” in that if you show me where I am short of the mark, failed in my research or logic, or plain got it wrong, I have (and am) willing to acknowledge my mistake, error, misunderstanding, “coming up short,” etc. There is always that risk when you are putting out written pieces in real time without a pause to edit, etc.
          I appreciated the fact Frank G. understood my meaning. Both of us were at the meeting and I was happy to see him report different aspects of audience contributions than either Lockhart or I did. Gets a larger story into circulation.
          I am feeling better. Thanks for asking. Good to see you at Stop & Shop. Coffee? Time will tell.

  • Bob Walsh

    Now Frank, you have the City Attorney saying possibly four of the nine members of the library board not having been approved by the City Council. And you realize to rectify that those members will have to appear before the City Council for their appointment to be confirmed?
    You might interpret what Councilwoman McBride said as a threat but I would have said the same thing if I were still on the council. By bypassing the council originally, the council gets to look at the present using hindsight. They do not have to “guess” how they would act under certain circumstances, they have already seen them in action.
    And if they do not like what they have seen, not only do they have the opportunity to vote against them, I would maintain they have the obligation to do so. It is not a threat, it is simply performing their duties.

    • Frank Gyure

      The statements by Councilperson McBride and private citizens were unabashed naked threats. I am not stupid nor am I oblivious to a power play when I see one. Give me a break. I WAS THERE.

      • Ron Mackey

        Frank Gyure, Councilperson McBride and private citizens have every right to petition their government at any and all levels and to call them out just like you do if you decide to do it. Do you recall reading about the Boston Tea Party or the March On Washington in 1963?

        • Frank Gyure

          I recall reading about the aforementioned events but luckily I was not an eyewitness to them. I do not challenge the right of any citizen to petition their government but I was an eyewitness to the events at the library. I can recognize differences in statement by the tone, manner, body language and other subtle means of communication. In my humble opinion, the two statements I refer too had the unmistakable purpose of intimidating the board members. As a reference to one of the events you mentioned, the March on Washington in 1963, marchers protested the Jim Crow segregation laws in place at that time as well as racism in the United Sates. One way many Southern States “prevented” African Americans from voting was through the use of poll taxes, but more effectively, through intimidation. I’ve been around enough, I can discern the difference between an informational verbal strategy and an intimidational vocal strategy.

          • Ron Mackey

            Frank, so you have no problem with the statements from Donald Trump? So you are now a mind reader.

          • Frank Gyure

            Ron Mackey, where did Donald Trump come into this conversation? I have no interest in this discussion with you.

          • Ron Mackey

            Frank, you mention tone, manner, body language and other subtle means of communication so I was asking you is that the way Trump is acting.

          • Frank Gyure

            What does Donald Trump have to do with this?

    • Frank Gyure

      Excusez-moi, Monsieur Walsh. We have the same problem in EVERY SINGLE FLUCKING BOARD in this City’s Government. How about if we start with cleaning up the Police Board since the POLICE eat up a huge amount of OUR money? I was at the board meeting. The Library Board members were completely on top of and knew all the integral parts and challenges facing the library, including BATHROOMS for PATRONS, including the ENTRANCE to the MAIN BRANCH OF the BRIDGEPORT PUBLIC LIBRARY. I wish Common Council Meetings were as detailed and as thorough as this meeting with the Library Board. You NEED TO ATTEND and see it with your own eyes.

    • Frank Gyure

      I think the City Attorney was far too attuned to the political aspects of this case as it is unfolding. That is why Ernest Newton ALSO had to use the name of Joseph Ganim in his soliloquy as well as his threat to take away the Library mil.

  • Bob Walsh

    And Frank, if you don’t believe me, I am sure Lennie could vouch for what I might do in that scenario. That is why they call me the Troll.
    Bypassing the council???
    They’d be history.
    And then I would be demanding the mayor to forward for reappointment any other members whose terms have expired or to forward names of their replacements.

  • Frank Gyure

    How can we help Scott Hughes? He has undeniable talent, magic and charisma. Do we just let him twist in the wind? Something has to be done NOW!!!

    • Frank Gyure

      The question I would have for Scott Hughes is, “Scott, do you REALLY REALLY want this to happen?” I need an answer to that question.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Frank, to your question/statement … time will tell.

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