LAWRENCEVILLE - Recent machinations on the feuding Gwinnett County Public Library board won't interfere with the scheduled opening of the county's new branch.
On the heels of reports that a faction of board members want to fire Director Jo Ann Pinder, county commissioners approved a $439,744 contract to furnish the 14th library branch, currently under construction in Grayson.
Commissioners said they have received letters and e-mails from Pinder's supporters and opponents but have chosen to leave the matter to the library board, which is composed of members appointed by each commissioner.
"We need to rely on the board to do their job," Chairman Charles Bannister said, adding that he does not regularly consult with his appointee. "When I make my appointments, I try to fill that with people who are capable. ... This job is too big for me to handle that job and my job too."
But he said the commission is committed to continue its work on the branch, which is being funded by the county's Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.
"We've got to furnish the library. That's part of the SPLOST funds. We are obligated to build and furnish it," he said.
Commissioner Mike Beaudreau said he didn't want to comment on the controversy. "We appoint the library board to be an autonomous board," he said. "I'm not entering in that water. I trust (Acting Chairman) Lloyd (Breck) and the rest of the library board."
District 1's Lorraine Green said the county has a strange relationship with the library because the commission owns the property and raises the taxes, but state law puts the library board in charge.
"We're not going to get involved in that," she said. But the branch, "that's irrespective of whose leading it. I'm looking at building it just as fast as we can afford it."
According to Support Services Director Connie Hinson, the Grayson branch is scheduled to open this winter.