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Walsh: Don’t Sour On City Librarian

February 16th, 2016 · 67 Comments · Analysis and Comment, Library

It’s not every day former City Councilman Bob “Troll” Walsh admits he’s wrong. Some members of the Bridgeport Library Board and employees have expressed concerns about the job performance of Library Director Scott Hughes including missing a filing deadline for a key state grant and mixing in political activities such as running for State Senate to the detriment of his work. Hughes rejects that latter assertion. Walsh has stepped up for Hughes, writing the guy he thought would be “eaten alive by Bridgeport politics” has been an asset to the library. Check out Walsh’s letter to Library Board members.

For those who do not know me I have dedicated two decades of service to the city of Bridgeport as a member of The Bridgeport Fire Commission, the Bridgeport WPCA Authority and 17 years on the Bridgeport City Council. I am well aware of the difficult decisions that you must make in your role on the Library Board.

So let me be short and to the point. I am writing to voice my support and admiration for our City Librarian Scott Hughes. In looking back I recall the first time I met Scott was when he appeared before the City Council’s Budget and Appropriations Committee. And I must admit my immediate reaction was that he appears like a nice guy but will be eaten alive by Bridgeport politics.

I am happy to report that I was wrong. Well not about the nice guy part but he has grown and thrived in this role and so has the Bridgeport Public Library. He is in and of the community much more so than other city librarians that I knew.

When he came to Bridgeport he had a vision of the library’s future. And although that vision has not developed exactly as he had imagined, the Library has changed, has grown and has developed in many very positive ways.

And, for those of us who know Scott well, we know that he had made some very personal sacrifices in trying to make this vision a reality.

I do not know where or why some people have apparently soured on Scott but I have not. If the board or some of its members have issues with Scott let’s try to work things out. Let’s not let the moment get in the way of the future.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not being dismissive of the board’s role in the growth and positive things we are seeing in the city’s library system. It is the effort of a collaborative effort by all stakeholders that has gotten us to where we are today.

But I have seen too often good people leave this city long before they have to over issues that could be resolved but were not due to a lack of trying. Don’t let Scott and the libraries become another such victim. The growth of the libraries is something our whole city can be proud of and needs to continue.

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67 Comments so far ↓

  • Frank Gyure

    City Librarian Hughes informed the Board of Directors that the Library’s Application for a State Library Construction Grant in the amount of one million dollars was not accepted due to a failure to file it by the deadline stipulated in State Statute. He took responsibility for the missed deadline and said it was due to a failure of communication and misinterpretation. Director Greenberg expressed great dismay at the major failure of our highest priority. Director Baraka suggested further inquiry into the matter be sent to the Personnel Committee for discussion and/or action.

    In other words, Scott Hughes BLEW a million dollar grant from the State of Connecticut towards the construction of new libraries. I would invite all commentators here to read the minutes of the Library Board meetings, and you will see a very distinct pattern emerge.

  • Frank Gyure

    If you read the minutes of Library Board meetings, the Board was constantly directing Hughes to do various things and Hughes was giving excuses left and right. The finding Hughes blew the $1 million grant came out in the last board meeting. In my above post, the top paragraph was copied and pasted from the minutes of the Library Board Meeting. Second paragraph is my own comment.

  • banmenow

    I think it is inexcusable Mr. Hughes missed an opportunity at a grant. I also think it is completely unacceptable Mr. Hughes reportedly did not do many directives from his boss the library board.
    In any other circumstance, if you do not do as directed by your boss it is insubordination and grounds for firing.

  • Bob Walsh

    Insubordination???
    Paging Tom Bucci
    Paging tom Bucci

    • Jennifer Buchanan

      I found this very helpful and very interesting, that part of the duties of the board is to help secure funding for the library.
      aclb.org/wp-content/HB/ACLB%20Handbook.pdf

      • Frank Gyure

        The board REPEATEDLY and REPEATEDLY months and months before the deadline, directed the Director of Libraries to prepare for the grant application.

        • MLopez3

          Actually, the board did not direct Mr. Hughes to prepare for this grant. Mr. Hughes was the one who brought this grant before the board. And he is required to work with city grant writers in order to comply with city budget commitments and such. He repeatedly sent emails requesting updates and it was an error that took place because of lapses in interdepartmental processes. And let’s be clear, the current members of the Library Board who are required to be voted on by the City Council may not even be a valid board.

          • Frank Gyure

            Here come the Ganim acolytes.

          • Frank Gyure

            Are you coming with R. Christopher Meyer to change the composition of the board on the spot tomorrow night?

          • Jennifer Buchanan

            Thank you for the back story. This certainly paints a much different picture of the issues at hand. This city most certainly does not have enough grant writers, and no doubt misses out on a lot of available funds.

      • stevenl

        Did the board of the library and Greenberg secure the 59%? Did they have the necessary schematics in place for Hughes to submit the grant application?

    • Frank Gyure

      I would not call it Insubordination. I would call it NOT DOING YOUR JOB.

      • stevenl

        Is this guy a board member? He claims to be on other web pages.

        • stevenl

          Frank G, are you a board member? Did you just say you were marching downtown tomorrow to fire the librarian? I have a screenshot that says you did. Who ARE you?

          • Frank Gyure

            I will be at the Library Board meeting. Will you be there? I never claimed to be a board member. Please reread my comments, very slowly so you will comprehend.

          • stevenl

            Frank Gyure, your delusions of grandeur are fit for the DSM under Bi-polar, Borderline Personality or Sociopath. Since I can’t upload an image here, I will paste your exact words from your social media account. If you are not a board member why would you say this? “Frank Gyure: I’m off tomorrow..just gotta go to a library board meeting to fire the current library director…all pics will be posted here”

            You have a lot of magical powers, Frank. Maybe you should use them for your new home I hear, under the bridge. Where the other gyuregoyles live and feed off of misinformation and pass it along.

          • Frank Gyure

            stevenl, you are just a mean person. Look that up in DSM. Were you at the Library meeting? Did you have the balls to stand up and speak? I stood up, said my name and stated my feelings. If you were there you were too scared to show your face, or even stand up and say anything.

  • Jimfox

    So if I’m campaigning for Ganim in July and I have an application for a $1 million Library Grant with a deadline of September 1Sth. and the city is the owner of record, then the city according to the state is the only entity that can apply for said grant, not Scott Hughes or the Library Board.
    The question here is, would Finch forward this application to the state on the Library Directors’ request?
    Or would Finch shitcan the Grant, and start looking for a few more squirrels just for the Main Library?

    • Frank Gyure

      Some people are obsessed with Bill Finch and just can’t let go.

      • Jimfox

        Frankie, don’t make me come over to your house and beat you over the flucking head with the family dog!
        Bill Finch has cost the taxpayers Millions and I’ll kick his ass for the next year or two.
        You flucking Finchette!!!
        We’re $20 Million in the hole because of Bill Finch and his band of merry men!
        Even walking out the door, Sherwood and Nunn tried to screw us!
        Let’s see how obsessed you are when you open your new tax bill in July.

        • Frank Gyure

          Flatto’s $20 million budget deficit. I can predict EVERYTHING. GANIM: “OH, OH I an so sorry. We inherited a huge deficit from the previous bastard FINCH and we will have NO CHOICE but to raise taxes and the MIL RATE. It WAS ALL FINCH’s FAULT. We are paying extra for Chapman, we are paying extra for the Gaudett fiasco so we can grease Paris’ ass, we are paying extra to pay off the Bridgeport Police Union, don’t come near my house because I am paying $10,000 in taxes and who the fuck are you?

          • Frank Gyure

            And in 3-4 years when Ganim and company seek reelection, Flatto will say we were so fluckin’ good at the budget that JUST BEFORE THE ELECTION we are able to lower the mil rate, and all the people of East Bridgeport will say ALLELUIA, thank GOD for Joseph Ganim, he lowered our taxes.

          • John Marshall Lee

            Frank,
            You were going to call me? 203-259-9642. City fiscal matters and how they interrelate to taxpayers is sometimes not as simple as you make out. This is a great time to look at materials coming out that will provide evidence of what was harmful and hidden under Finch, I suspect, in addition to the bald-faced grab as the ship was going down by Sherwood and Nunn regarding the Port Authority. With your more frequent posting, perhaps you have time for that cup of coffee. Time will tell.

        • Lisa Parziale

          I really really like you, Jimfox.

      • Frank Gyure

        $10 million is a payoff to Paris and his henchmen.

  • Frank Gyure

    And the end of Joseph Ganim will begin in Black Rock and the North End, as people will see the chicanery that he has deluded the fools of East bridgeport. Look up that word in the dictionary, CHICANERY.

  • Frank Gyure

    And FINCH is GONE.

  • Frank Gyure

    AND I will be at the Library board meeting.

  • Steven Auerbach

    I am pleased Bob Walsh came out in support of Scott Hughes. The Board may have legitimate issues, but Scott has contributed a great deal to the city and the state of the library. Scott is an intelligent man and will clear up issues.

    Jim Fox, this is a library issue between Scott Hughes and the Library Board. Injecting Bill Finch into the mix is not necessary. Speaking about our tax bill, think again, this will be Joe Ganim dealing with it. Finch is yesterday’s news. People will be talking about the Chief Gaudett Buyout. Voters have short memories. Ganim won by a landslide against Mary-Jane Foster, not against Bill Finch. For the record, I want Joe Ganim to to be a huge success. He will be his own trailblazer, Bill Finch will not be discussed when the taxes and the mil rate rise. I actually believe Ganim is going to pull it off. You can attack Finch all you want, demeaning him does not raise Joe. Those who voted for Joe expect no tax increase! Nobody wants to hear any excuses! :-)

  • MLopez3

    We should look at the fact this board has repeatedly refused to conduct an independent audit of ALL financial information in order to consolidate into a more cost-effective way. When was the last time nominations and then confirmations have taken place to insure the board has a diverse and true representation of the city it serves???

  • stevenl

    The board is outrageously at fault here. They’ve failed to do their due diligence, they seem to have a personal agenda here that is political, and why is Don Greenberg the head of the board? What is at all relevant about a retired political science professor in regards to being a substantive leader? I mean, seriously. He’s the most negative guy personally. I think the board requires a shakeup with some members who are willing and able to handle the job at hand. Hughes is an asset to the community and a well-liked member of the administration.

  • stevenl

    MLopez3, agree.

  • Frank Gyure

    Late-night skirmishes here.

  • MLopez3

    I believe if we look at the facts of this situation it is quite simply a situation of a board that has been able to operate as they wish with very little oversight. At the end of the day, Mr. Hughes was trying to include the community that was supposed to be served and was destined to create friction. This board has a CPA who reconciles a multitude of different financial reporting systems throughout the library and yet this is the same person who conducts the auditing of these same books, when an independent outside accounting firm should run periodic independent audits. That is just one of many issues Mr. Hughes has been trying to deal with, so it’s time we stop the blind following of the status quo. It is time this board be reviewed and the overall selection process reviewed including making sure board meetings are held within the standards outlined in Roberts Rules of Order.

  • John Marshall Lee

    The review of Boards and Commissions has been partially tackled by one of the transition groups. Most of the “identified” Boards and Commissions depend upon the initiative of the Mayor. And unidentified Boards like School Building Committee are not placed on the public site though hundreds of millions and Mayoral approval is present. The Library Board is different in a unique manner from other City groups, as its funding has come to be also.

    Neither Scott Hughes, nor any member of the Library Board, pretends to be Superman or Wonder Woman. But as in each of those character constructs, there are things they do well and others less well. Scott Hughes has no second to turn to for the many tasks on his desk. Why not? Other major cities have such backup that provides for day-to-day responsibility. Have budget issues dealt with ably in recent years not provided a salary line for and overdue assistance to the City Librarian? Time will tell.

    • MLopez3

      John, I agree a city of this size should have an Assistant Librarian to be able to help manage the amount of work necessary to make our libraries viable resources. I’m also aware of the unique structure of the board, unfortunately it is not nor was it ever supposed to be a locked-in until you die position either. We need to make sure we are including all sectors of the community they serve and the public has full disclosure of upcoming issues that must be addressed.

  • Phil Smith

    Reading this thread I see a lot of spin and very few facts.

  • Frank Gyure

    Phil Smith,
    Can you provide us with some facts to shed some light on this situation, especially the question of the $1 million State grant? Thank you.

  • Local Eyes

    We live in a world where opinions are becoming more important than facts.
    Few care about their facts, but everybody cares about the Supreme Court’s opinions. It’s news.
    In a related matter, it seems the Ganim Administration is becoming a retirement haven for FBI agents and Political Science professors.

  • Bob Walsh

    I am not saying this is the case or not but I would be damned careful that I had all my facts straight before I signed a grant application for $1 Million regardless of what my board tells me to do.

  • 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. Everyone spilled their guts and exposed their true feelings. 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.

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