Turmoil takes toll on Basalt Regional Library District’s board of trustees
The Basalt Regional Library District’s board of trustees is imploding in the face of criticism.
One member of the seven-person board resigned Tuesday, another withdrew her application to be reappointed, and a third said he can’t wait to end his term later this month.
The comments came at a special meeting Tuesday that followed six months of acrimony between some trustees and a group called Supporters of the Library. Some of the group’s members called for all seven trustees to resign. Another faction wrote a scathing letter to local officials taking the trustees to task for their handling of library functions.
Trustee Steve Rittvo resigned effective noon Tuesday even though he had 21⁄2 years remaining on his term.
“Recent actions by a number of community members have impacted my professional activities and my resignation is made under the advice of my counsel,” his letter of resignation said. He didn’t elaborate on the reasons for his resignation.
Before he departed, Rittvo submitted a check for $2,000 for library staff development. Staff development was reduced in the fall budget. Rittvo said at that time he would personally contribute to the fund because he felt it was important.
Rittvo’s resignation creates four openings on the board. The library district is accepting applications and will interview candidates Feb. 13. They will recommend appointees to the Pitkin and Eagle county commissioners as well as the Basalt Town Council. The elected boards have the ultimate say on appointments.
Trustee Christine Tinner announced she was withdrawing her application to remain on the board for reasons she didn’t specify. She said last week she was interested in returning. That preceded the latest salvo of criticism from Supporters of the Library.
Trustee Taylor Liebmann said he looks forward to his term expiring on Feb. 13. He isn’t seeking reappointment.
“I look forward to my last meeting,” he said. “Life is too short.”
Liebmann has been the most outspoken among the trustees in defense of the former library executive director. He said Tuesday the library is a wonderful facility that the trustees and critics should be trying to improve through cooperation. He claimed Supporters of the Library has “refocused its ire” after it helped drive out the executive director.
Supporters of the Library isn’t just taking shots from outside. It is vowing to get involved in governing the library. Group members Carolyn Kane, Helene Slansky and Cil Klamper have applied or will apply, according to Linda Crossland, an organizer of the group. Crossland said she also is pondering a possible application.
Applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. Friday. An online application is available at http://www.basaltrld.org under the “Join Our Board!” heading.
Eleven people have applied so far, but one was eliminated for living outside the library district. One applicant must live in Pitkin County, one in Basalt and two in Eagle County.
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