Zionsville Times Sentinel

Local News

August 17, 2011

County questions library appointments

County officials are questioning whether the Zionsville Town Council and the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library Board overstepped their authority when they named new members to the library board.

Earlier this month, the town council and the library board each named members to the seven-person library board, county councilman Gene Thompson said last week.

Those appointments were the same persons the county council and the Boone County Commissioners appointed, but county officials are not happy with the process.

The library receives about $3 million in county tax revenue, Thompson said.

Thompson said he told the town council and library officials,  “I was not pleased with the process that was followed.”

At the Boone County Council’s Tuesday, Aug. 9, meeting, Thompson said, “I believe when the Zionsville Town Council made two appointments ... they made them to two ... seats already occupied.”

Neither the library director nor the board have authority to remove a person who has been appointed by another agency, he pointed out.

The issue, Thompson said, arose after a consolidation of Eagle and Union townships with Zionsville.

“(The county council) was notified by the state that  ... they are no longer serving two townships, they are serving one municipality and a county,”  Councilman David Rodgers said at the council’s Tuesday meeting. “I’m concerned about the library’s legal position with these appointments being in question. I’m concerned for their legal position, and therefore for our legal position.”

CountyAttorneyBob Clutter said “legally speaking, it’s the library board’s issue.”

County Council President Steve Jacob replied, “My position is if we have two (appointments) ... it would be ... our choice (who to appoint).”

Clutter said he will work through the issues at dispute, the technicalities of the appointment process and get back with the county council.

On Monday, Aug. 15, the Boone County Commissioners accepted that the State Library Association has the authority to tell the library board it should change its membership, but they were unhappy that so little notice was given.

“We got the first notice of this four hours before the meeting,” County Commissioner Jeff Wolfe said.

“I agree with (county councilman) Gene Thompson,” Commissioner Charles Eaton said. “They could have phoned us or something.”

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