New City Library Board of Trustees President Terri Thal will have two weeks to respond to a list of charges filed against her by a fellow board member trying to remove her as board president.
At the board’s , Trustee Tom Ninan made a motion to remove Thal as president, but it was determined that he would submit a written list of charges to a committee created to investigate his claims and possibly move forward with Thal’s removal. At last meeting, the committee was created with three members: Trustees Ed Kallen, Anthony Feliciano and Matthew Mulrooney.
At Thursday’s meeting, when the possible vote was brought back up, an argument broke out over the next step to take. Some on the board called for an executive session that night to discuss the charges, which Ninan sent to the committee sometime between the March meeting and Thursday night. The charges were not made public.
Trustee Edward Kallen said Thal needed time to go over the charges and decide if she wants to refute them.
“Whether she takes it up or not is her business, but she should have an opportunity with a deadline to file an answer,” he said. “At that point, then we should meet as a committee and look into what it is you’ve charged and look at her answers and see if there’s any validity to what it is you’ve charged. That’s all, and then we’ll make our recommendation to the board. If we don’t all agree, we can have a report of the majority of our committee or the minority of our committee.”
Another reason Kallen felt it was important to not rush into anything was so the board could set a precedent in case this type of situation comes up again.
“What we do now will set a precedent, and I think the precedent we need to set is with due process and doing things the right way rather than jumping in and rushing the judgement,” he said.
Trustee Anthony Feliciano said this issue shouldn’t be tabled for another meeting and they really needed to set a timetable for. Still, some wanted to go to executive session after Thursday’s meeting, but Kallen said he feared if they did that the meeting would only be the charges with no response from Thal. When someone said she doesn’t need to respond, Kallen said he felt that giving Thal the time to really review the charges and decide on whether or not was the proper move.
“It felt like members of the board were trying to railroad this through,” Kallen said after the meeting. “She should have the right of due process.”
Eventually it was determined Thal would have two weeks from Thursday, May 3rd, to submit her defense to any of the three committee members in writing, or all three if she wanted. From there, they will look into the charges and Thal’s response and investigate if there’s any merit to them. They will then report back to the board at the May meeting and depending on their find, the vote could take place that night.
While there was no movement on the presidency, the board did change vice presidents Thursday night. Before the meeting, Mulrooney resigned as vice president, citing personal reasons.
“I just didn’t want to be a part of the current administrative leadership,” he said.
During the meeting, Trustee Joseph Reiter was elected new vice president of the board. Reiter is one of two board members currently serving his first term on the board.
“I didn’t plan on taking this big of a role this quickly, but the position needed to be filled,” he said.