Tag: Birmingham Public Library

Library Board Debates Filling Two Management Positions

For the past year, the Birmingham Public Library has been embroiled in a controversy surrounding Executive Director Floyd Council. But at Tuesday’s meeting, the library’s board of trustees shifted its focus to replacing two other key staff members, including Council’s second-in-command.

Deputy Director Sandra Vick Lee has announced that she will retire Dec. 7, while Tobin Cataldo, the library’s coordinator of collection management, is leaving his position Nov. 16 to head up the Jefferson County Library Cooperative.

The questions of how to fill those positions while permanent replacements are sought, and who has the authority to appoint those replacements, led to a muddled, sometimes tense board meeting Tuesday night

Birmingham Library Board Adopts “Corrective” Plan for System’s Embattled Director

Amid calls from employees to fire Executive Director Floyd Council, the Birmingham Public Library’s board of trustees voted instead to submit a “corrective action plan” to the embattled administrator. Board members refused to give any details about what that plan would entail, classifying it as a private personnel matter.

The board also voted to approve its first-year evaluation of the executive director — the details of which were also not disclosed — with a recommendation “to develop a specific performance improvement plan.”

In short, Council — who was not present at the meeting and who has refused to discuss the situation with the press — will keep his job for now. His one-year probationary period, during which the board can fire him without cause, will end before the board’s next regular meeting, on Nov. 13. Read more.

Birmingham Library Board Meets Again Monday; Controversy Over Council Continues

Amid a controversy about Executive Director Floyd Council, the Birmingham Public Library’s board of trustees has called a special meeting for Monday at 4:30 p.m.

The subject of the meeting has not been officially confirmed, but this year has seen a series of special called meetings to discuss Council’s performance. He started the job in November and his one-year probationary period is slated to end before the board’s next regular meeting, on Nov. 13.

In an Oct. 9 meeting of the board, about 20 Birmingham Public Library employees said they had experienced a “hostile” work environment during Council’s first year in office. Through a spokeswoman, Monica King-Slater, they told the board that they had been “berated and treated like children in front of other employees and patrons.”

Council described the employees at the meeting as “extreme outliers” who were unrepresentative of the BPL’s 287-person staff. “Sometimes people will develop a coalition because what they want is a scandal,” he said.

Birmingham Public Library Atmosphere ‘Toxic’ ‘Hostile,’ Employees Say. Leadership ‘Not for Faint of Heart,’ New Director Responds.

Birmingham Public Library Atmosphere ‘Toxic’ ‘Hostile,’ Employees Say. Leadership ‘Not for Faint of Heart,’ New Director Responds.

Nearly 20 Birmingham Public Library employees addressed the library’s board of directors Tuesday night, expressing concern over what they described as a “hostile” work environment that has emerged under the library’s new leadership.

The group, speaking through spokesperson Monica King-Slater, did not mention anyone by name, but it was clear that their frustration was directed toward Floyd Council, the library’s executive director, who is nearing the end of his probationary period in the position.

Council’s leadership has been the subject of controversy since he started the job in November 2017. With Tuesday marking the board’s last regular meeting before the end of Council’s yearlong probationary period, the employees warned board members that the “toxic” environment was “a time bomb waiting to explode” and urged the board to “do the right thing.” Read more.

Birmingham Library Board Back in Executive Session Addressing Complaint Against Employee

The Birmingham Public Library board of trustees met in executive session Tuesday evening to address a complaint against an employee governed by the board. No action was taken following the 45-minute executive session, which was called for by the board’s attorney, who said the grievance involved an alleged violation of Alabama ethics law.

Assistant Birmingham city attorney Veronica Merritt said the formal, written complaint discussed in private by the board accused an employee of violating a state law that prohibits public employees from receiving or soliciting anything for the purpose “of corruptly influencing official action.”

Tuesday night’s session is the latest in a series of closed door executive sessions for the library board since April. Earlier executive sessions were held after employee complaints about library Executive Director Floyd Council were made public. Read more.

Library Trustees Tell Executive Director He Has Their Support

Members of the Birmingham Public Library board of trustees told embattled Executive Director Floyd Council that he has their support during Tuesday evening’s board meeting.

Board members have met several times in the past few weeks to discuss Council’s performance after employee complaints about his leadership went public. Board members met in closed session for an hour Tuesday evening, the third time they’ve done so in the past month.

“Mr. Council has gone above and beyond during the last weeks and months,” trustee Kimberly Richardson said after the executive session. “He lost his mother recently and yet he’s been here through it all. He has our support.” Read more.

Birmingham Library Trustees Expected to Discuss Executive Director’s Performance in Executive Session Tuesday

Birmingham Public Library’s board of trustees is expected to go into executive session during its meeting Tuesday afternoon as members are set to discuss a six-month performance review of new library leader Floyd Council.

If the executive session is called as expected by board attorney Veronica Merritt, it will be the third executive session conducted to discuss issues surrounding Council since complaints about his leadership went public last month.

A survey of employees conducted the week of April 6 showed continuing low morale, concern about internal communications, concern about security and a lack of knowledge about the library’s complaint and grievance process. Highlights were discussed during a meeting last week. The library board’s Personnel Committee also devised a list of recommendations and action items to be taken to the full board Tuesday. Read more.

Read more of BirminghamWatch’s continuing coverage of the issues.

Survey Finds Low Morale at the Library; Board Expects Another Executive Session May 8 to Discuss Executive Director

All’s Not Quiet at Birmingham Public Library: Board Surveys Employees after Criticism of Director

Birmingham Library Board Discusses Personnel Issues in Closed Session

Library Personnel Committee Meets in Closed Session, Will Report to Library Board Next Month

Birmingham Council Fills Two Library Board Seats Amid Controversy

Survey Finds Low Morale at the Library; Board Expects Another Executive Session May 8 to Discuss Executive Director

May 2, 2018 – Members of a Birmingham Public Library committee told the system’s new executive director Wednesday that morale in the system is low and employees are concerned about internal communications and security.

The committee members advised embattled Executive Director Floyd Council to resume employee orientations and communicate more with all library employees, not just managers.

The advice came after an employee morale survey was conducted last month. Members of the Long-Range Planning Committee who met Wednesday discussed highlights of that survey with Council.

This is the third meeting of a library board group to discuss Council since complaints about his leadership went public.

The library’s board of trustees is meeting again Tuesday, May 8, at 4:30 p.m. to discuss the six-month performance review for Council, who was appointed in mid-November.

Board attorney Veronica Merritt said she expects to advise the trustees go into executive session to have that discussion because of employee privacy and legal considerations.

If they do, it will be the third executive session conducted to discuss issues surrounding Council.
Read more.