New Gary Library chief departs May 1
By Michael Gonzalez Post-Tribune correspondent April 17, 2012 5:20PM
Otis Alexander, Gary Public Library Director. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media ptmet
Updated: May 19, 2012 8:14AM
GARY — Otis Alexander, who was hired as the Gary Public Library system’s director in November, submitted his resignation Monday.
Board of Trustees President Tony Walker said Alexander’s departure is “mutually acceptable” and clears the way for a longtime library employee, Diana Morrow, to lead the system and be in charge of the day-to-day operations for now.
Walker declined to comment on any discussions he had with Alexander about the director’s performance. Alexander’s salary was $81,000, and Morrow will be paid the same as interim director when she takes over officially May 1.
In his resignation letter, Alexander, who came from Virginia, wrote he was “severely stressed from several unidentified activities and the refusal, by a few members of the Board of Trustees, to respect my leadership for the rational directions of the library system.”
Alexander could not be reached for comment.
Morrow, who was recently named the head librarian at the DuBois Branch, was also filling in as an deputy director. The library system is comprised of four branches and a museum and cultural center.
Alexander walked into a hornet’s nest of activity last year. Board members and administrators have struggled with less than half the normal budget and revenue, layoffs as well as opposition to closure of the Main Branch and its conversion into the South Shore Museum and Cultural Center, an idea spawned last fall.
County Councilwoman Elsie Franklin, D-Gary, a rare attendee at board meetings, successfully orchestrated the removal of longtime board member Cynthia Watts, the County Council’s appointee, from the board.
Walker described Morrow as his “top choice all along,” but the veteran librarian did not apply for the director’s spot due to personal obligations, he said.
“(Morrow) is someone who is a known quantity to us, known and respected by colleagues, board members and staff,” Walker said. “I’m just ecstatic for her.”