Library strife claims another official | AspenTimes.com

Library strife claims another official

Aspen Times Staff Report

The political infighting that has plagued the Basalt Regional Library District for the past 18 months has claimed another victim.

Lee Wilson, a member of the library district’s board of trustees, turned in his resignation this week ? following library director Jean Winkler’s decision last month to resign.

“I am resigning partly as a protest of the events that led up to Jean Winkler’s decision to leave the library after many years of very capable service,” Wilson wrote in his letter. “I am frustrated by the dynamic of the present Board, which makes it very difficult and time consuming to conduct business and move ahead with important projects.”

Mary Roberts also resigned this week from the library board because she is moving from the area. She accepted a job as director of the Community Development Department in Littleton.

Wilson’s departure leaves the board with only two members with longer than two years of experience. Resignations and appointments of new candidates by the county commissioners of Eagle and Pitkin counties has caused turnover in five of seven library board positions.

Wilson wrote that it is “unfortunate” that the county commissioners replaced “knowledgeable, experienced board members with people who seemed to be specifically interested in one particular issue, the new library.

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“While I believe the new board members are honestly dedicated to a quality library that will serve the district’s people, the dynamic and style they bring to the board has resulted in a divided and dysfunctional group,” Wilson wrote.

Wilson represented Pitkin County on the library board. Roberts represented Eagle County.

The library district is seeking applications from people to serve on the board. The district also plans to gear up a search for Winkler’s replacement. Like Wilson, she cited the changing dynamics of the board and the infighting as reasons for her departure.

A divisive debate over where to build a new library has dominated the library board’s time for the last 18 months. The district was unable to reach a decision on a proposed site in time to approach voters in the November election.

Winkler’s resignation is effective at the end of the year. She will take a new position with the Three Rivers Library District in western Colorado.

Winkler was honored by the Basalt Town Council as well as an audience of about 20 people Tuesday night for her 17 years of service with the library.

[Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com]