Tag: Birmingham Public Library
For the first time in more than eight months, the Birmingham Public Library has a full board of trustees. The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to appoint Lynn Flowers-Martin and Mona Lisa Morris to fill two vacant seats on the board.
Several major changes are headed to Birmingham in 2019, although some will be more apparent than others. They range from the bureaucratic – such as new members on the Birmingham City Council, ongoing personnel shake-ups at the Birmingham Public Library and calls for a comprehensive public safety plan – to the physical – including a major interstate closure and construction of a new open-air stadium at the BJCC.
Read about what the year ahead looks like for the Magic City.
More What to Watch in 2019
Economic development is likely to be a primary focus for Jefferson County and the County Commission during 2019. The county hit a mother lode, or at least the offshoot of one, during 2018 with Amazon and DC Blox announcing they are establishing operations in Bessemer and North Titusville, respectively. Look for Jefferson County to continue prospecting for more golden nuggets in 2019. Read more.
Environmental issues have made headlines throughout 2018, and 2019 promises to be no different.
Decisions will be made that affect the cleanliness of the state’s waters, air and land. Issues that will affect recycling, coal mining and solar, nuclear and hydropower generation also are looming on the horizon. Here are a few of the issues to watch in 2019.
A gasoline tax increase to fund road improvements is expected to be a major topic of the 2019 Alabama legislative session. Legislators also are expecting several hundred million more dollars to spend in the education budget and will be debating raises, a child literacy program and other education improvements. Other issues include funding improvements in prisons and a possible lottery proposal. Read more.
Birmingham Public Library Deputy Director Sandra Lee bid an emotional farewell to the library’s board of trustees Tuesday afternoon, praising the BPL’s “passionate” staff and emphasizing the important role that libraries play in communities. Read more.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.