Council chairman says no to equal representation on Library Board

October 01, 2008 at 6:05 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Council chairman says no to equal representation on Library Board
courtesy photo
A plan to select residents from each district in the parish to sit on the library board won't get the support of the library's ex-officio member and Council Chairman Dennis Nuss.

“There's no need, in my opinion, to add any more positions to the board,” he said. “It's fine the way it is.”

The ordinance that was introduced at Monday night's council meeting by Councilwoman-at-large Carolyn Schexnaydre and District 4 Councilman Paul Hogan requests that the board have one representative from all seven districts in St. Charles Parish.

The board currently has five members, two from St. Rose, one from Des Allemands, one from Luling and one from Hahnville. It excludes representation from two East Bank districts.
“I feel that the board should be set up the same as the Parish Council in order to provide equal representation to all,” Hogan said.

Hogan believes equal representation should be considered - especially when the board is looking at providing service in one district without anyone from that district to represent them.

“There is nothing wrong with having the board expanded to include a representative from all seven districts, especially since it's allowed by state law,” Hogan said.
Nuss says he sees no reason to expand the board by adding additional people and hasn't received any complaints from any of the board’s current members about the way it is set up now.

However, Nuss is currently working on changing the board’s  policy and procedures.
“The library board bylaws have been rewritten through a subcommittee,” Nuss said. “We hope to get the new by-laws approved at the next meeting.”

Library board member Lynette Bush was part of the subcommittee responsible for changing the bylaws. She says she complained to council members about the way board meetings were conducted earlier this year.

“The board is currently a mess - all members need to be replaced,” Bush wrote in a letter to the Parish Council in May. “They give the impression that they allow the director of the library (Mary deBordes) to control them."
Bush said she has witnessed winks, whispers and notes passed between members during board meetings.

“Not to mention the appearance of agenda items being pre-discussed and agreements being made before the meetings take place,” she wrote. “The director in every way tries to control all aspects of the meeting. A review of taped board meetings will establish these facts.”

Nuss is aware of Bush's concerns and is working to improve the situation.
“I think all meetings by any board or group have room for improvement,” he said. “I think rewriting the by-laws will definitely help the library board better serve the people of St. Charles Parish and the library system.”

Nuss believes dismissing the members and starting over with a new board isn't a good idea.
“I do not see a need to dismiss and restructure the entire board,” he said. “The board has done a good job as far as I can tell.”

Schexnaydre wrote her ordinance only to expand the districts, not to dismiss any board members.
“There are seven districts in St. Charles Parish and there should be seven members on the library board to represent each area of the parish,” she said.

According to the St. Charles Parish Home Rule Charter, the council has the authority to abolish or consolidate a board or a commission.

View other articles written Shonna Riggs

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