OTTERBEIN, Ind. (WLFI) - There was more turmoil Tuesday night for an area library board already under investigation by the state.
As News 18 reported last month, the Indiana Public Access Counselor is investigating the Otterbein Public Library Board. A complaint filed by Lee Jackson alleges the board violated open access laws by holding meetings and not properly notifying the public.
"You have incompetently handled this situation from start to finish and I would urge this board to make a change," said Jackson, also the husband of a former employee.
Soon after, board member Mike Humphrey apologized for not knowing the rules for publishing meetings in advance.
"I can't apologize for the board, but I can apologize for myself for failing to know the manual," Humphrey said.
But that's not the only problem or the only reason it became heated at times.
President Treeva Sarles says the library budget has been cut by more than 10 percent in two years, from $127,000 in 2012 to $112,000 in 2014. It led the board to adopt new employee descriptions last month and ask all employees to reapply, which includes Jackson's wife who was serving as interim director. With the resignation of both the director and interim director in the last three weeks, the library is left with just two employees.
"The board acted as they felt is appropriate to move this library in a direction that is best for our community,” said Sarles. “We stand by our decisions."
Jackson says there were other options that the board should have considered.
"I was glad to see people come out," Jackson said. "I'm glad we got an opportunity to let the board know that we deeply disagree with what they have done and the way they've gone about it."
The board has sent a response to the Public Access Counselor. An advisory opinion is due Oct. 18.
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