March 28, 2023

Crawford County Library Board appoints interim director

Throughout a particular referred to as assembly Friday (Feb. 24), the Crawford County Library Board appointed Eva White interim director of the Crawford County Library System within the wake of Deidre Grzymala’s shock resignation from the place.

The Crawford County Quorum Court docket on Feb. 21 authorized an ordinance that approved the county to pay Grzymala $40,687.50, which incorporates $687.50 in Grzymala’s private and sick time, as a part of a severance settlement that was initially to be a non-disclosure settlement (NDA). The ordinance additionally states that the county will proceed to pay for Gryzmala’s well being and dental insurance coverage via Sept. 1.

The NDA, obtained by Discuss Enterprise & Politics via an Arkansas Freedom of Data Act (AFOIA) request, said that each events agreed to maintain the severance bundle “below the strictest confidence and agree to not disclose the phrases …”

The NDA didn’t point out any cause for Grzymala’s resignation. Crawford County Quorum Court docket legal professional Gentry Wahlmeier mentioned he didn’t have correspondence concerning Gryzmala’s resignation or the settlement drafted by him between Gryzmala and the county.

“As for any correspondence, no legislation requires me to maintain information of that and I didn’t. So far as I’m conscious, the county choose nor his workplace has ever shared separate correspondence with Ms. Grzymala,” Wahlmeier mentioned. (Discuss Enterprise & Politics President Michael Tilley responded to Wahlmeier Friday afternoon, noting partly, “Once more, the AFOIA notes that any paperwork produced by public officers with public property ‘shall be presumed to be public information.’ I discover it tough to consider {that a} four-page NDA – with signatures – and a two-page ordinance was drafted with none events discussing language, phrases, and different particulars. Certainly, the legislation requires you, if appearing because the authorized agent for the county, to gather the requested public paperwork and make them instantly out there.” As of late Friday, the county had not responded in full to the authorized request made Feb. 22.)

Grzymala mentioned Wednesday she was obligated below the NDA to not discuss her resignation. When Grzymala was knowledgeable that the severance settlement had been made public as a result of it was by no means authorized below state legislation, and he or she wouldn’t be breaking any settlement, she mentioned she was nonetheless obliged to conform. Tammi Hamby, chair of the Crawford County Library Board, additionally declined to touch upon the resignation and mentioned earlier within the week that “nothing was mentioned between her (Grzymala) and I in any respect ever about this.”

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White will start Monday (Feb. 27) because the interim director and can proceed within the place till a brand new director is employed. The place pays about $50,000 yearly, Hamby mentioned. White will obtain that wage whereas she is within the interim place, she added. The board doesn’t have a timeline on when a brand new director shall be employed. Hamby mentioned the board would promote the place, undergo the right channels after which conduct interviews

“We’ll do it as quick as potential, however we’ll should undergo the right channels,” Hamby mentioned.

White was the library director for Crawford County from 1999 to 2012 after which once more from 2013 to January 2021. She mentioned she retired through the COVID pandemic at a time when she was experiencing knee issues. She has since had two knee replacements and is “prepared to return to work.”

Gryzmala’s tenure with the library has been overshadowed by controversy over LBGQT+ materials within the library since November. Hamby, who was appointed as chair of the library board in January, and her husband Dr. Jeffrey Hamby, a Van Buren household doctor, spearheaded a marketing campaign in opposition to LBGQT+ books being out there via the Crawford County Library System and Grzymala’s guide show of LBGQT+ youngsters’s books arrange on the Van Buren Public Library in November. Hamby was appointed to the Crawford County Library Board and named the board chair by Crawford County Choose Chris Keith after Jamie Balkman, former chair, and two different board members resigned after a contentious Quorum Court docket assembly in December.

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After the protest by the Hambys, Grzymala mentioned she believed everybody had reached a compromise and the books had been moved to their very own part at every of the Crawford County Library System’s 5 libraries.

Hamby additionally tried throughout a particular Jan. 17 library board assembly to problem Gryzmala on alleged finances considerations. Nevertheless, board members defined to Hamby that library board had authorized all spending for the 12 months and the contract for the bills coping with updating the library’s computer systems, wi-fi and different expertise was signed in March 2022, earlier than Grzymala was employed on the library director in July.