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Sycamore library head interested in Geneva move

GENEVA – One of the candidates interested in being named the new director of the Geneva Public Library, is Sarah Tobias, director of the Sycamore Library.

After Geneva Library board members went into closed session at Thursday’s special meeting, Tobias said she was interested in Geneva because it served an area about double what Sycamore serves.

“That gives me an opportunity to grow in what I do,” Tobias said. “I’ve been a library director about 14 years, but I’ve been a librarian since 1992.”

Tobias said she has worked as a librarian in DeKalb, Chicago Public Library, McHenry Public Library, and started her career at the Barrington Public Library.

The library board voted, 5-1, with one absent to go into closed session to discuss purchase or lease of property and personnel – specifically to discuss the questions they would ask their pool of applicants for the director position.

The district’s previous director Matt Teske resigned April 10. 

Officials said they hope to have a new director by this summer.

Board member Susan Shivers questioned whether it was legal for the board to go into closed session to discuss questions it was going to ask applicants.

“The questions are all generic,” Shivers said. 

Interim Library Director Marilyn Boria said closed session is permitted when a board is considering hiring a person for higher office – which this is. 

The Open Meetings Act allows specific exemptions for a public body to close a meeting to the public, personnel being one of them.

“I’ve done this four times and every single time it’s been in closed session and there’s been no question that it could be in closed session,” Boria said.

Boria also pointed out one of the candidates for the position was sitting in the audience – Tobias – another reason to close the meeting.

Board member Travis Ketterman said the meeting should be closed if they are talking about questions for specific candidates.

“We now do have a pool of candidates we are going to discuss in closed session and those questions relating to those individuals, to me, is part of the process,” Ketterman said. 

Shivers cast the lone vote not to go into closed session. Board member Steve Andersson was absent.

The board also unanimously agreed to release the audio portion of a closed meeting from last fall in which the Illinois Attorney General Public Access Counselor said should be released.

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