Some Library Board members want to throw the book at Library Director Scott Hughes for poor performance. Hughes in response is challenging the board’s authority in court, alleging members were never properly appointed by the City Council. It raises questions about the self-appointing authority of the Library Board. If an existing member is reappointed for another three years, must the City Council vet and approve? Former City Council member Bob Walsh argues yes. The City Attorney’s Office is looking into the matter.
“The Library Board has failed to abide by the City Charter in regards to board members,” Walsh asserts. “It seems to have started with them feeling years ago they do not need to forward to the council names for reappointments since it is not a new “appointee” but someone previously vetted by the council. Reappointments to any board or commission always came before the council whether it was their first term or their tenth.”
President Jim O’Donnell
Vice President Sauda Baraka
Secretary/Treasurer Tom Errichetti
Phylicia R. Brown
Rosalina Roman Christy
O’Donnell is an attorney, Holden a Superior Court judge.
From the City Charter:
CHAPTER 16 – LIBRARIES
· Section 1. – Selection of the library directors.
· (a) There shall continue to be a board of directors of the Bridgeport public library which shall be responsible for the management and direction of the Bridgeport public library and shall possess all of the powers and shall perform all of the duties of library directors, as set forth in the general statutes of the state of Connecticut.
· The board of directors of the Bridgeport public library shall consist of nine members who shall be appointed, as provided in sub Section (c) of this section, for terms of three years from the first day of July next succeeding their appointment.
· (c) In June of each year, the board of directors of the Bridgeport public library shall appoint, with the approval of the city council, three persons as library directors to succeed those whose terms are to expire in that year. Vacancies in the membership of the board of directors of the Bridgeport public library shall be filled by the library board, with the approval of the city council, for the unexpired portion of the term vacated.
· Section 2. – Annual Report.
· The board of directors of the Bridgeport public library shall make the report required by Section 11-34 of the general statutes to the mayor and city council on or before the fifteenth of July in each year. Such report shall be for the year ending June 30th.
· Section 3. – Library fund.
· All moneys collected as penalties by the board of directors of the public library for violation of the rules and regulations adopted by the directors for the governance of the library and reading room or that may be collected under other rules and regulations adopted by such directors, and all fines and penalties which may be imposed upon any person for the violation of any city ordinance relative to the use and governance of said public library and reading room, shall be placed in the treasury of said city to the credit of the “Library Fund”, and shall be expended by said directors in the same manner as any other moneys credited to said library fund.
· Section 4. – Klein Memorial—Operation and management.
· The board of directors and trustees of the Bridgeport Public Library is authorized to operate and manage the Klein Memorial in Bridgeport. Such operation and management shall be in accord with the terms this charter concerning civil service, purchasing maintenance and such other laws as affect the operation and management of city property.
· Section 5. – Same—Annual appropriation for operation.
· The city council is authorized to appropriate, annually, to the board of directors and trustees of the Bridgeport Public Library such sums as may reasonably be necessary for the operation and maintenance of said Klein Memorial in the manner and under the conditions provided by law for appropriations to the city’s various departments. Such appropriations shall not affect any amount to be appropriated for library purposes.