The Gwinnett County Library Board fired its executive director Monday, enraging a crowd of patrons who wanted her to keep her job.
Sparking cries of “incompetent” and “fire the board” from the audience, three of the library board’s five members voted to oust director Jo Ann Pinder, 57, without cause. The board’s chairman did not vote, but announced he endorsed the decision.
After the vote, Pinder supporters and detractors argued with one another. Police had been brought into the meeting earlier to keep order.
The panel’s majority used a parliamentary procedure to block the board’s only Pinder supporter, Brett Taylor, from speaking before the vote to fire the woman who had been the library’s director for 15 years. Taylor left the meeting in protest immediately after the vote and stood outside with Pinder supporters.
“She should have been given a fair chance to learn what the board wanted from her and to make any adjustments,” Taylor said.
A group of citizens attending the meeting wearing stickers that said “I support the board Patron Power” clapped when the vote was completed.
More than 100 library patrons, many of them wearing red clothing to show support for Pinder, packed a conference room at the Five Forks Trickum library branch south of Lawrenceville to witness the vote.
Another 70 or more patrons stood in a hallway outside because they were unable to fit into the meeting room. The board’s decision set off an eruption of angry shouts. “I hope y’all get fired in public like this!” one patron yelled.
And there’s this:
Warren Furlow, who runs a Web site called gcplwatch.org, asked the board to better “harmonize the library system with conservative values” of the community.
So it wasn’t just about GCPL buying popular books.