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New City Library Trustees Not Pursuing Contract Renewal With Executive Director

Votes in February executive sessions rejected opening contract talks

 

At two separate executive sessions in February, the Board of Trustees was briefed on the evaluation of Library Executive Director Chuck McMorran, whose four-year contract is up for renewal in August.  Despite the evaluation which gave McMorran positive results, the vote to enter into contract negotiations failed by a three to two vote at both sessions.  The minutes from the executive sessions are available to the public one week after the meeting and can be found in the library’s Rockland Room.

Jeffrey Greenberg, chair of the Ad Hoc Committee to Evaluate the Performance of the Executive Director, who voted in favor of going into negotiations, said, “I am disappointed with the board’s decision.”

He said it is possible the issue could be brought up again for a re-vote. If not, he said the next step would be for the board to form a committee to search for a new executive director.

“Personally, I think that Chuck has done a terrific job,” said Greenberg. “He has updated the technology. He has brought the library into the current century.” 

Trustee Tom Ninan, who voted against opening contract talks, said he wanted to see the minutes from the executive sessions before any comment.  The minutes of the executive sessions have to be approved by the board, which holds a regular meeting tonight at 7 p.m.

Trustee Edward Kallen, who voted in favor of contract renewal talks, said, “I think it’s tragic.  It’s shameful.”

Kallen pointed out that McMorran was given a mostly excellent rating by the trustees and the vote not to enter into negotiations was inconsistent with that review.

“The same board of directors evaluated him,” said Kallen. “Clearly he’s doing a competent job.  It makes no sense.” 

On February 16, the trustees adjourned to executive session after their regular meeting to discuss the executive director’s performance evaluation.  According to the meeting minutes, an explanation was given about a survey distributed to the entire board in the fall of 2011.  Six of the eight board members responded to the survey, which asked them to rate the executive director on a scale of one to six in eight categories.  

The eight categories were:

  • Customer Service and Community Relations
  • Organizational Growth
  • Administration and Human Resources Management
  • Financial Management and Compliance with Law
  • Board of Trustee Relationship
  • Personal Qualities/Professional Development
  • Staff and Personnel Relationships
  • Technology and Innovation 

The responding members gave McMorran Excellent ratings totaling 232, Satisfactory ratings totaling 65 and no Needs Improvement ratings.  As committee chair Greenberg, concluded that McMorran is doing a “good job.” The other committee members were Aney Paul, who did not attend the meeting, and Anthony Feliciano. 

Greenberg recommended the board notify McMorran that they were prepared to enter into contract renewal negotiations.   Board members discussed the issue. A motion was to begin contract talks and failed by a three to two vote.  There was one abstention.

The trustees’ votes were: Feliciano abstained; Greenberg and Kallen voted yes; Matt Mulrooney, Ninan and Olahannan Poulouse voted no.  Though present at the meeting, Board President Teri Thal did not vote.  A subsequent vote to withdraw the motion passed with five in favor and one abstention cast by Feliciano.

At a special meeting called for February 28, the executive session focused on the same issue. According to the minutes, the same presentation was made and the board discussed it.  A vote to enter into contract negotiations with the executive director failed by a three to two vote with one abstention.   

Poulose who was present for the beginning of the meeting left prior to the vote. Greenberg and Kallen voted in favor, Mulrooney, Ninan and Joseph Reiter voted against. Thal did not vote and Paul was absent.

 

Richard March 15, 2012 at 10:46 AM
Shades of the school board ... Here we go again!
RJ March 15, 2012 at 11:39 AM
I was thinking the same exact thing, Richard! Let's take what appears to be a perfectly good Executive & get rid of him with no explanation! Is it because he cut a few a jobs? I've been a library patron for many years & each year I spend less time inside the library as technology advances. I like Chuck & hope he gets to stick around for another 4 years.
Mike Hirsch March 15, 2012 at 12:48 PM
The library trustees are political appointees who owe their job to Alex Gromack's deal making. There is also something wrong with the election process for the board members. People in West Nyack can't vote for board members for either library. Besides, it only takes 300 votes to win a seat, and the public that isn't shut out choose not to vote. It's representative democracy at it's worst.

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