Thursday, August 27, 2015

Letter to Charles Fegan, Chair, FfxCo Library Board of Trustees

The following letter was sent to Charles Fegan, Chair of the Library Board, August 13, 2015 by Dennis Hays:

Dear Mr. Chairman:

Congratulations again on your re-election as Chairman of the Fairfax Library Board of Trustees.  On behalf of all of us concerned about the state of our libraries let me say we are pleased you have chosen to continue to serve.  I am sure you will find the upcoming year both challenging and rewarding! 

One of those challenges is upon you and your colleagues now - the selection of a new Director for the Fairfax system.  This responsibility is the single most important personnel action your Board will take and one that rests with your Board alone - both State law and County policy are unequivocal: "the Director shall be selected and appointed by the Fairfax County Public Library Board of Trustees."

I realize this is an weighty responsibility and I am grateful for the hard work and diligent service of your search committee.  The new Director will be charged with restoring the Fairfax Library system to a position of excellence.  The years' long deterioration of the system's budget, collections, and employee morale has caused great damage.   It is thus crucial you identify and select a new Director with a proven history of restoring large library systems to their appropriate position as a cornerstone of their communities.  The District of Columbia and several jurisdictions in Virginia have successfully come back from similar self- inflicted wounds and under your leadership I am confident the Board can select a Director to restore the Fairfax system to its former prominence too.   

While it has been important and useful to have had input from non-Board Member advisors to the search committee, it is imperative no individuals other than the Members of the Board have any "vote" or "veto" on the actual selection process - this is reserved by law to the Members of your full Board.  The Supervisors of Fairfax County have placed their confidence in you through the appointment process.  As such, neither they nor any other official have any further role in the selection process other to ensure appropriate State and local laws are observed.   Inappropriate involvement in the Board's deliberations at this stage would taint the entire process and leave any decision potentially subject to well -merited criticism and open to challenge.     

Again, my thanks for your service.  Please let me know if I can ever be of assistance.  

Very best regards,  Dennis

Dennis K. Hays
Chairman, Fairfax Library Advocates 

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