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Geneva library officials: Management announcement coming Monday

GENEVA – Geneva Public Library officials said they would be issuing a public announcement Monday regarding the library’s management.

Esther Steel, the library board’s president, refused to be specific about the announcement other than to say it was about management.

“We are going through a process right now to put us in a position to release that press statement and make things clear for everyone,” Steel said. “There will be a press release out by noon on Monday as to what has happened regarding the library’s management.”

At a special meeting this week, library trustee Susan Shivers disparaged library director Matt Teske, when the board majority voted to hire a temporary library consultant at $60 an hour for 15 hours a week. Teske earns $110,237 a year.

“I know it’s going to be painful for some people to hear this, but our director has been on the job six or seven years and either he can get it right by now or he cannot,” Shivers had said. 

Shivers’ comments drew criticism from trustee Bob Shiffler.

“I think that comment was totally inappropriate,” Shiffler said.

Steel defended Shivers’ right to state her opinion, although she disagreed with it. 

“Susan has the right to voice her opinion, but it was not the tone or feelings of the rest of the board,” Steel said. 

Teske said he could not comment on what statement would be forthcoming Monday. But regarding Shivers’ comments, Teske echoed what Steel said.

“All I have to say about that is board members have the right to say what they want,” Teske said. “I also feel I have the support of the majority of the board.”

As to the impact of her comments, Shivers said, “Everything I said in open session, I said in closed session.” 

But Shivers’ critical opinion of Teske was not always the case. In January 2013, minutes show the library board majority approved a 2.5 percent pay increase for Teske. According to the minutes, “Trustee Shivers stated that she was voting ‘no’ purely based on finances. [Shivers] fully supports director Teske and thinks he is doing a fine job.”

“At the time, I felt he was overpaid for his qualifications,” Shivers said of her comments a year ago. “I have learned a lot more about the job he’s actually been doing. I’ve learned more facts as to his fulfilling his job responsibilities.”

But Shivers would not be specific, saying it was discussed in closed session.

In Tuesday’s 5-1 vote with one absent, the board hired Marilyn Boria, the retired director of the Elmhurst Library, who served as a temporary interim director at Sugar Grove.

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