The Beat Goes On: The Birmingham Library Board, Still Enmeshed in Director Controversy, Now Faces Two Vacancies

Wardine Alexander held the first of two library board seats being vacated. She stepped down because she was appointed to the Birmingham City Council

Its embattled executive director might be keeping his job for now, but the landscape at the Birmingham Public Library remains in flux. One seat on the library’s nine-member board of trustees is newly vacant, and a second will be empty by the end of the year.

The currently vacant seat was held by Wardine Alexander, a former school board president who was appointed to the board in April. Alexander was appointed to the Birmingham City Council last month, filling the District 7 seat left empty by Jay Roberson, who resigned in September.

The Mayor-Council Act of 1955 prevents councilors from sitting on other boards or agencies, which meant that Alexander had to resign from the library board. As a councilor, she will be involved in choosing her replacement.

The second vacancy on the library board will occur on Dec. 31, when Gwendolyn R. Amamoo’s term is set to expire. Amamoo, the board’s vice president, was first appointed in January 2006.

Alexander and Amamoo’s replacements will be appointed by the Birmingham City Council, which will itself have two vacancies to fill starting next week. Those interested in vying for the seat can apply through the city’s website.

The board’s new members will inherit the controversy surrounding Executive Director Floyd Council, which has been going on since he was first hired last year. Council has been the subject of several official employee grievances and has been accused of turning the library’s headquarters into a hostile work environment. Amid calls for his removal, the board, instead, voted last month to implement a “corrective action plan” for Council, though the details of that plan have not yet been made public.