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Library to start search for director

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett's interim library director will be named Thursday and a search for a permanent replacement will begin soon, library officials said a day after the board voted to fire Executive Director Jo Ann Pinder without cause.

Library board Chairman Lloyd Breck said the system's top management would handle day-to-day operations until an executive committee - the board's chairman, vice-chairwoman and secretary - decides on the temporary head, and major changes won't take place until a new director is named.

"As far as changing the direction of the library, I'd rather have a captain on the bridge," he said Tuesday.

According to library officials, the committee meeting has been scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Thursday at system headquarters on Lawrenceville Highway. The personnel discussion will be closed.

After the vote for Pinder's ouster, the board decided to schedule two additional meetings, acknowledging that other decisions needed to be made prior to the next scheduled meeting in September. The full board would have to ratify the executive committee's decision at the July 10 session.

The extra sessions possibility was on Monday's agenda prior to the meeting, but Breck said there were no discussions about what to do if Pinder was indeed fired.

In fact, library personnel had to ask the board before it disbanded if it would approve a person to sign payroll checks and make other financial decisions.

Breck declined again Tuesday to explain his reasons for supporting Pinder's removal, but he did acknowledge that some of the issues presented by the public needed to be addressed.

He has already directed the staff to look into financial agreement with the Northeast Foundation of Georgia that activists called into question.

One big complaint - that the library stocks large quantities of best sellers and sells them at a loss once popularity has waned - won't get immediate attention, he said.

"That was definitely a concern I would be more comfortable discussing with a new director before making a policy change," he said.

He said personnel director Lisa Williams would be charged with finding qualified candidates to fill the positions, and the possibility of an outside search firm hasn't been discussed.

The system's newly adopted budget, he said, likely has enough funds in its travel section to pay for candidates coming in for interviews.

Breck said a qualified candidate would have experience with a library service of Gwinnett's size, but he declined to describe his ideal candidate.

"The board will have to sit down and review the criteria," he said. "I would rather discuss it with the board and make sure everybody's on the same page."