'How Public Is Our Library?'

August 24, 2008

The Monroe County Public Library Board of Trustees ended months of bitter debate on Aug. 20 when it voted 5-2 to start televising its monthly work sessions, every other month.

Bitter may be an understatement. Trustee Penny Austin said at an Aug. 13 board work session that coming to meetings makes her feel physically ill. She reiterated that point at the board’s regular meeting a week later.

At the work session, board President John Walsh characterized Trustee Randy Paul’s “behavior and tactics” as “selfish, narcissistic, disrespectful, dishonorable, unethical and detrimental.” He repeated disrespectful, dishonorable and unethical twice.

Board Vice President Fred Risinger shouted at Paul during the work session. He too restated his frustrations at the Aug. 20 meeting.

“I really feel like we’ve been pressured into this, and I resent it,” he said of a vote to have Community Access Television Services (CATS) broadcast the board’s previously untelevised work sessions.

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