Board president says increases weren’t recorded, but were approved
Councilman Paul Hogan says that Library Board President Carolyn Tregre has refused to meet with him to discuss his concern that the East Regional Library’s increase in square footage from 33,587 to 39,655 was never approved by the board.
Hogan also points to a Sept. 22 Library Board meeting where Tregre seems to confirm his charges, though she goes on to say that no member of the board disagreed with the increases.
At that board meeting, Tregre called Hogan’s allegations untrue and said that the size increases were presented and discussed at board meetings. Just because there is no mention in the official minutes, she said, doesn’t mean that the issues were not brought up and discussed.
“When these changes were presented, no member of the board made a motion to accept the changes,” she said. “The board apparently did not feel it was necessary to make a motion to adopt each of those changes.
“It considered them a part of the process of adjusting the original plans in order to build the most effective, long-serving library we could build.”
Tregre goes on to say that she sees no reason to initiate an independent investigation of those issues.
“However, if such an action is initiated, I demand to be interviewed by the persons conducting that investigation as they must hear both sides of the story,” she said. “I am prepared to testify under oath as to the presentation of the East Regional Library changes to the Library Board and Library Board meetings.”
In his original letter, written on Aug. 31, Hogan asked the board to perform an investigation by an outside entity into Library Director Mary des Bordes, who Hogan said keeps the meeting minutes and was apparently responsible for increasing the library’s size.
At the time, Hogan gave the board two weeks from the time of the letter to make a decision before he passed on his information to another agency to perform the investigation.
All of the Library Board members have backed Tregre’s statement that they all approved of the size increases, even if they were not recorded in the minutes.
“I was at these Library Board meetings and nothing deceitful was done at these meetings,” board member Dolores Chauffe said. “Nothing was sneaked by the board.”
Fellow board member Mary Bunch agreed, calling Hogan’s concerns “silly.”
“It’s obvious we’re here for a reason to better our parish, and I agree completely with Ms. Tregre also,” she said.
Board member Jan Thompson, who was not around when the size increases took place, said that she got a call from Hogan right after being sworn in. During that call, Thompson said that Hogan went over all of his concerns and she told him that she would look into it.
“I understood what he was talking about,” she said. “The cost jumped so much and it didn’t look like it was in any minutes.”
Thompson said she then spoke with both des Bordes and Tregre about the situation.
“I certainly understood about the idea that since no motion was made, that it didn’t appear in the minutes but that every one of the increases were made with the board’s full understanding and agreement to do it,” she said. “So, I truly believe them and I don’t see any reason for an investigation either.”
Since a mention of the size increases was not recorded in the minutes, Hogan requested detailed information on what exactly was brought up and discussed by the board in regards to the changes.
“This information should be readily available to you and surely will not require a comprehensive detailed report prepared by an outside entity as you once stated,” Hogan wrote to Tregre. “Please provide me with a copy of the information which the Library Board used, had in its presence or was made aware of when it ‘discussed’ each increase and the date of the meeting on which these discussions and approvals of increases in the size of the building occurred.”
Tregre responded in an Oct. 14 letter where she said that all of the information concerning the library had already been provided to Hogan and that there is no reason for further correspondence on the issue.
“The response is disconcerting since the Library Board provided no record or documents justifying a 39,655-square-foot building,” Hogan said. “An investigation is warranted now more than ever due to the lack of accountability by the board.”
Hogan added that he is working towards securing an investigation on his own since the board has refused to do so.