Board selection could resolve library deadlock
The Eagle and Pitkin county commissioners may have tipped the scales this week in the debate over where the midvalley should build a new library.
The commissioners appointed Basalt resident Peter Frey to the Basalt Regional Library’s board of directors. They selected Frey over incumbent library-board member JoAnn Glassier of Blue Lake.
The Pitkin County commissioners endorsed the selection. Both boards make appointments to the library board.
The appointment was significant because the library board has been deadlocked in a divisive debate over where a new 20,000-square-foot facility should be located.
Board members Bruce Gabow and James Brundige favor sites near downtown Basalt, and Glassier favored Willits in the El Jebel/West Basalt area along with board president Polly Pollard. Board member Laura Anderson hasn’t tipped her hand in the debate.
Two other board members – Lee Wilson and Linda Crossland – have disqualified themselves from the site selection.
Frey said he philosophically favors a library site near downtown Basalt, but he wants to learn more about the three sites still under consideration before he decides. He said the idea of locating the library close to the elementary and middle schools appeals to him.
In theory, Frey’s vote would place at least three board members in favor of a downtown site.
Frey said he believed it was his background in education and technology that earned him appointment to the library board. He was a professor at Northwestern University for 30 years. He taught courses ranging from machine intelligence to decision science to statistical and research methodology.
“My academic background has provided me with a deep appreciation and love for books and libraries,” his letter of application said.
Frey’s appointment came despite a library-board vote recommending that Glassier be retained. The library board voted 3-1 last month in favor of Glassier.
Pollard, Anderson and Crossland favored Glassier’s reappointment. Gabow favored Frey. Wilson and Brundige abstained.
Pollard said she doesn’t have anything against Frey but believes his appointment leaves the western part of the library district without representation.
“I think the issue I feel most strongly about is taxation without representation,” she said.
Frey adds more representation for Basalt. Pollard, Crossland and Wilson are also from Basalt; Gabow lives in the Fryingpan Valley; and Anderson and Brundige live in the Snowmass area.
Pollard wrote a letter to the county commissioners that endorsed Glassier as the candidate “best able to represent the longtime residents and ranchers in the community.”
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