Taking charge

Taking charge

Library board members in Urbana have cleared up the facility's leadership question.

Two heads may be better than one. But two bosses is one too many, particular at a library that has seen its share of turmoil in recent weeks.

Consequently, Debra Lissak will remain on the payroll and apparently on the staff, even though she will no longer be the library's executive director. Kathy Wicks will be acting executive director.

Meanwhile, the library board will oversee a national search for a permanent executive director.

Lissak fell into disfavor earlier this year over accusations about the excessive "weeding" of older books from the library's collection. But comments from patrons and library employees at library board meetings suggest the weeding issue was just part of the problem between Lissak and some members of her staff. Whatever the problem, it was an unhealthy situation library board members felt they must address.

Settling the issue was complicated by Lissak's contract, which required she be given one year's notice prior to termination. The result is that in recent weeks the library has had both an executive director and an acting executive director, an obviously intolerable circumstance.

Under what board member Scott Bennett euphemistically called a "mutually agreeable terminal employment agreement," Lissak will receive her normal salary and benefits through July 2014 in exchange for which she will relinquish her title while continuing to work at the library.

It would be good if this plan brings an acceptable end to an unhappy chapter in the library's history. We have our doubts.

Nonetheless, it's grounds for a fresh start.

Sections (2):Editorials, Opinion


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