Proponents of censorship lost their fight opposing the library mill levy election, but they are not done trying to control what people can read or see at the library. The next battle coming will be for library board appointments. And they have Commissioners Joe McKenney and Rick Tryon in their hip pockets.
When current library board member, Anne Bulger, came before the City Commission for reappointment at its July 18 meeting, Commissioners Tryon and McKenney suddenly objected to the process the city has used for years to fill board appointments without advertising. In fact, McKenney and Tryon both voted to appoint two positions on the Business Improvement District Board just two weeks before without advertising, and neither one raised any concern about the process.
As a result of their objection, the Commission voted to delay the Library Board appointment until they had a chance to review the appointment process. On August 2, the Commission amended the appointment process to require advertising and posting of City Board vacancies.
Let’s not kid ourselves about what is going on here. The opponents of the library mill levy are still licking their wounds from their loss at the ballot box. They are not done trying to censure the library, and you can bet they will have their preferred candidates to fill vacant board positions. It is not coincidence that this all comes up when a library board member is up for reappointment. If the commissioners were primarily concerned about the “process,” they could have, and should have, adopted the changes between board appointments, instead of in the middle of filling a specific and controversial board position. Tryon’s and McKenney’s motivation is clear. They are pandering to the far right to garner votes in the coming city election. We’re a little perplexed by the fact that Commissioner Susan Wolff went along with them.
By almost all accounts, Anne Bulger has been a diligent and hard working member of the Library Board. Not much has been said about how she feels about having the process changed after she applied and before the decision was made. It’s a hell of a thing to treat a volunteer board member like this. But, of course, Tryon and McKenney have other things on their mind.
Note: Stay tuned for articles about the lawsuit filed by pro-censorship people challenging the library mill levy election.