The library is once again the target of the right-wing here in Great Falls. This time it’s about filling a vacancy on the library board. At its July 18 meeting, the Great Falls City Commission chose not to fill an open position by reappointing an existing board member, which is the common practice when incumbent city board members wish to be reappointed. Instead, the commission voted (without Mayor Bob Kelly, who was absent) to delay until the appointment process could be “reviewed.” And that is where the hypocrisy comes in.
Commissioners McKenney and Tryon donned the mantle of transparent government and argued that, since the city appointments are not consistently advertised, the commission should review the process before filling the opening. The city does not advertise all available board openings. It probably should. The problem with McKenney and Tryon is they didn’t mean it. At the July 5th meeting, the commissioners appointed two members to the business improvement district without advertising and without a peep about the appointment process. Hmm what could the difference be?
Of course the difference is politics. Tryon and McKenney should just be honest about that and not use some smoke screen like “transparency” and “good government” to cloak their political agenda. Tryon comes directly out of the tin-foil-hat-conspiracy Republicans here in Great Falls, and McKenney has been pandering to the Pachyderm Club for votes in his bid for mayor. Not to be cynical or anything like that, but it sure appears that the decision to hold up a library board appointment is just one more chapter in the far right attack on our library. Stay tuned for the actual appointment to the library board. No doubt the right wingers will put forth a candidate who is committed to being a thorn in the library’s side. And it looks like they will have McKenney and Tryon in their back pockets.
End Note: The attack on local libraries is occurring nationally and here in Montana. Here are a couple of Montana examples.
Flathead County Library- https://flatheadbeacon.com/2022/07/23/in-wake-of-library-board-shake-up-book-removal-advocates-appear-emboldened%ef%bf%bc/