Basalt library board must address some issues
November 2, 2011
Editor’s note: The following letter was written to the board of the Basalt Regional Library District.
Rather than “acting irresponsibly against the best interest of the library,” as described by Taylor Liebmann in The Aspen Times, we supporters of the Basalt Regional Library would like to explain our concerns, with the expectation of response from the current library board.
Please address your attention to the Bylaws and your “Strategic Plan: A Vision for the Basalt Regional Library District 2010-2015.” These documents are available on the library’s website, under “About Us.”
We concur with the Mission Statement and the strategies and goals listed therein.
However, we do not feel that the current board understands its role and responsibility to support or implement the goals.
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Our issues include the following:
a) Members should be aware of their fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers and patrons, and they should not rely on one or two people to assume that responsibility.
b) Board members must be able to meet the responsibilities and time commitments of their appointment. Each member should be actively involved in the proceedings and discussions of agenda items.
c) Potential board members should be apprised in advance of the time commitment and responsibilities involved in serving on the board. Upon being appointed to the board, an orientation packet should be provided to the new member.
The board is supposed to be the voice of the community. When patrons raise concerns, the board should respond in a polite, timely manner. Transparency in all communication is essential to good relations between the Board and the members and patrons of the District.
Your Strategic Plan notes the importance of continual evaluation. We would like to know what process is going to be used to evaluate the current executive director, the board members, and contracted employees. How and when do you intend to implement the Strategic Plan? Will there be a thorough evaluation by all Board members before any contracts are offered?
a) Meeting format does not currently seem to follow Robert’s Rules of Order or basic parliamentary procedure.
b) Board members do not always appear to be prepared beforehand or familiar with materials that are to be discussed, which prevents members from making knowledgeable decisions in a timely fashion. For example, the appointments of new committee members at the last meeting appeared unorganized, rushed, and unstudied. It didn’t seem that all applicants were interviewed, or even reviewed, prior to the meeting.
c) At a minimum, consider audio recording, or preferably video recording, of all board meetings.
All of these concerns could be addressed during a retreat of the board, the plan for which was announced at the July meeting but has yet to transpire. Regarding this retreat, we urge you to make this a priority. As budget concerns are paramount, spending funds for outside venues or outside facilitators should be unnecessary. Local resources are available.
By working together as a team, we can all be more effective in bringing the best possible library service to the people of our community.
We plan to attend the next scheduled board meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14, in the Basalt Library Community Room. We urge all interested citizens to attend.
supporters of the Basalt Regional Library District