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Library director's future uncertain

Nancy Stanbery-Kellam

Nancy Stanbery-Kellam

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The future of Gwinnett's library director could be decided at a specially called meeting Wednesday.

The contract for Nancy Stanbery-Kellam, who has served as director since 2006, is the sole item on the agenda.

Board Chairman Dick Goodman declined to discuss Stanbery-Kellam's job performance or his plans for the meeting, other than to discuss the contract, which will expire in September.

Stanbery-Kellam took over the now 15-branch system after the controversial firing of another leader, Joann Pinder, just six years after the system won a national Library of the Year award.

In 2009, residents circulated a petition to oust her from the job, after the board voted to close the Dacula library branch when a nearby Hamilton Mill one opened. That decision was later rescinded, as was another unpopular plan to convert some branches to computer labs to save money.

The system's money woes have continued in recent years, with hours drastically reduced before they were boosted earlier this year. Then, the system's materials budget took the brunt of the most recent cut in funding, and county officials have more closely examined the system's books.

Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash, who does not have a direct role in the library's operations other than budgeting county funds, declined to comment about the system's leadership.

"I have been focused on the performance of the library system as a whole rather than the performance of one or more individual staff members," she said. "I have been open with my desire to see the library system willing to consider new approaches. We cannot afford to continue the same pattern of operations for the library any more than we can for other county functions. We have to keep pushing for efficiencies and for value in service delivery."

Stanbery-Kellam did not return a phone call seeking comment.

The specially called meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the system's administrative headquarters at its Lawrenceville branch.

Comments

Bufordite 1 year, 3 months ago

Her future is uncertain? Just look at her past record! Expansion followed by closure, curtailment of hours, confusing "buddy branches", abrupt withdrawal of advertising on bookmarks because of percieved endorsement. And no wage increase for library staff in how many years? This woman doesn't appear to know how to manage or lead.

P.S. Ms Nash, Grow a spine...

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dman 1 year, 3 months ago

The BOC doesnt dictate who the director is. The Library Board does. Read carefully "Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash, who does not have a direct role in the library's operations other than budgeting county funds" Has say so in budgeting...but not personnel or the director.

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MaryHarmon5 1 year, 3 months ago

Really, you really think that BOC doesn't have a say in who is appointed the Library Director. Their puppets on the Library Board don't make a move without their approval. I hope someone like Dale Russell gets involved and let's throw all the dirty laundry out on the table.

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GwinnettFan 1 year, 3 months ago

Charlotte Nash is a dedicated, ethical, and bright public servant (former Gwinnett valedictorian as well as excellent student in college). It has been my observation over a number of years that she is not a puppet on any matter, reviews issues fairly and with careful thought. Chairman Nash could be peacefully traveling in retirement. She chooses to work on behalf of her fellow citizens, and we are lucky for it.

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Karl 1 year, 3 months ago

From the article:

"Stankbery-Kellam did not return a phone call seeking comment"

Freudian slip, perhaps?

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MaryHarmon5 1 year, 3 months ago

Let's agree to disagree on this one...I believe Ms. Kellam is being made the scapegoat for the county and for economic crisis that has hit our entire nation. She has been an advocate for library services for everyone, not just an entitled few. I believe Ms. Nash purposely appointed Dick Goodman who was involved with Engage Gwinnett to get rid of Ms. Kellam. Neither the county employees nor library employees have had a raise in 6 years, yet you still get your items. The county/board determines the raises, not Ms. Kellam. The voters wanted a library in every community and that is what they were given. It is not Ms. Kellam's fault that the funding dried up. I believe if you speak with someone at their HQ, they can explain that they have been examining and implementing new staffing models over the past few years...all with the thought of trying to provide service with less money. I believe this goes back to the suggestion that the Dacula Branch be renovated and different type of service (computer lab) be offered. I guess the rest of the county is to suffer because they didn't want to drive an extra 6 miles even though they would have a great lab for everyone. The firing of JoAnn Pinder was done very poorly and it looks like they are out to try to do it again. Did we ever finish paying off Ms. Pinder's package. While the system is not perfect, I sure hate to see Gwinnett County become the scene of national coverage because of a witch hunt. Honesty, integrity...I don't think so. Looks like Gwinnett County is still part of the good, old boy system and political promises have already been broken.

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Veryconcernedcitizen 1 year, 3 months ago

Charlotte Nash is nothing more than Wayne Hill's puppet.

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MaryHarmon5 1 year, 3 months ago

Veryconcernedcitizen...Amen to that! I'd be willing to be that she is fulfilling political promises to the Dacula group and then she's using her own puppets to do her dirty work. Why can't they find a group of honest individuals who truly want to see our library continue to grow and give good service. It's in the best interest of everyone to support the library rather than destory it. I wonder if they already have someone ready to slide into this position. Another political favor probably. God help the employees. Hey, did you know they are putting GPS systems on all the county vehicles. Then they can hire someone else to monitor those. Yep, our county dollars at waste compliments of the BOC!

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Why_not 1 year, 3 months ago

To Mary.....the GPS system they are installing on the emergency vehicles will ensure that dispatchers can recognize which PD units or fire units are closest to emergency situations. It's an extremely good time and life-saving feature to have.

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MaryHarmon5 1 year, 3 months ago

Thank you for that information. It certainly makes sense. What does not make sense is that it is being installed on non-emergency vehicles and will be utilized to monitor employees activities. Try investing in people and use technology to benefit those individuals rather than putting GPS in all vehicles. I maintain, tax dollars at waste.

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Why_not 1 year, 3 months ago

There is a whole array of county vehicles that aren't emergency vehicles, I agree. But those other vehicles are used in road maintenance, water main repairs, and any other number of situations. I feel fairly sure that it is to monitor where those vehicles are located....not what the employees are doing. After all, they ARE county owned vehicles purchased mostly by SPLOST revenues....not private vehicles. I see nothing wrong with ANY employer desiring to know where employees are at any given time.

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GwinnettFan 1 year, 3 months ago

Charlotte Nash is a dedicated, ethical, and bright public servant (former Gwinnett valedictorian as well as excellent student in college). She loves Gwinnett County which has always been her home. It has been my observation over a number of years that she is not a puppet on any matter, reviews issues fairly and with careful thought. Chairman Nash could be peacefully traveling in retirement. She chooses to work on behalf of her fellow citizens and we are lucky for it.

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MaryHarmon5 1 year, 3 months ago

Well, I must admit that I once thought the same thing; however, I am very afraid after looking at many, many of the facts surrounding this library situation that she is not the person I thought her to be. What happened to the report from the Ivy Consulting Group? Why did she appoint someone to the library board who appears not to like the public library? There are others who love Gwinnett County also and it is our home. We elected her to clean up a bad situation. Her appointee would not make a move without her approval and the whole situation stinks of political games. Well, on the bright side, Gwinnett will be in the news again and on the brighter side, this simply reinforces my plans to move out of the county. I'm not the only one who has had enough. Shame on all of you who participated in this witch hunt!

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