LPL Board of Control makes leadership change

Augusta Clark (left) reads her resignation letter as new Lincoln Parish Library Board of Control Chair Amy Smith sits to her right at the end of Wednesday’s Board Meeting. (Photo by T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT)

By T. Scott Boatright

The June meeting of the Lincoln Parish Library (LPL) Board of Control began and ended in much the same way in the Community Room of the LPL.

And that was with significant change.

Wednesday’s meeting started with Board member Amy Smith being nominated and then selected as new Chair of the LPL Board of Control.

It concluded with former Chair Augusta Clark announcing her resignation in a prepared statement prior to the meeting’s adjournment.

After approval of the meeting’s agenda, Clark in her role of expiring Chair called for election of a Board President/Chairperson. Smith was the only member nominated before the process was closed with no other nominations being made.

The Board then elected Smith to the position as new Chair.

Later, as Board members’ comments were made before the meeting’s adjournment, Clark pulled out a prepared statement and read directly from it, announcing her resignation from the Board.

After expressing her pleasure for being able to serve on the Board for the past 12 years and saying that she believed her presence made a difference and that the library is better in many aspects than when she first joined, Clark explained why she wanted to speak.

“Due to recent events, my heartfelt desire to continue service to this Board has diminished,” Clark said. “In view of this, I can no longer serve effectively. I do, however, find the need to bring facts up front and allow the public to evaluate on their own. The outcry among some members has been for transparency to the residents for budgetary and financial accountability.”

Clark then explained what she said led to her decision and actions.

“The first event surrounds the shocking call I received from a Board member two days prior to the election for Board officers. I was informed that I was too old to be president of the Board, and that he was nominating Amy Miller, the younger Board member, to be president because she was younger. He stated that old people like us should move over and let them lead. The Board member nominated Ms. Miller, the vote was taken and on Feb. 16 I was elected president. For the record, the Board member (who called Clark) and I are the same age. If I am too old to be president, then he is too old to be a member. It is quite evident that a conspiracy move was being made to remove me as president.”

Clark then said that following her February election as Board president, the same people who were unsuccessful in preventing her from being president delved into Board bylaws and discovered she had served consecutively in the position for three years and five months.

She then said that it was realized a little later that past Board president James Pilgreen had served in the role for four consecutive years and four months.

To conclude before announcing her resignation, Clark questioned why there were no objections back then to Pilgreen when two current Board members were already Board members during his later elections.

“They accepted him and rejected me,” Clark said. “This, too, could be perceived as inequitable.”

Miller said she felt it was best to decline comment following the meeting.

In other business, the Library Board of Control tabled discussion and action on changing the time and/or day of Board meetings, which have taken place monthly recently and are required to take place at least quarterly.

The Board did pass two actions during the meeting. One was to establish a committed of three Board members (Durrett, Miller and Mary Jo Cooper) along with the Lincoln Parish Police Jury personnel director LaTonya Lacey to report by September on all LPL staff positions, pay rates and available need/funding for any adjustments as well as a committee consisting of Board members Bill Jones, Sandra Dupree and Jan Canterbury along with new LPL Director Jeremy Balom to review LPL bylaws with assistance from attorney Lewis Jones.

The Board also moved to accept former interim LPL Director Marcie Nelson to serve a dual role as LPL Children’s Director and LPL Events Center Director for at least the time being at a to be determined salary rate of $40-45,000 annually.

In her final financial report as interim LPL director, Nelson also advised the Board that monthly expenditures were up because of emergency air conditioning repair for the library as well as having to temporarily tie facility parking light controls into a main breaker after the parking light’s control board “fried out.”

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