Down to two candidates for Gary Library director
By Michael Gonzalez Post-Tribune correspondent October 5, 2011 4:16PM
Updated: November 16, 2011 9:38AM
GARY — And then there were two.
The Gary Library Board has called a special meeting for Wednesday night to select a new library director from three candidates.
Last Friday, four of the board’s seven members interviewed local librarian Brenda Moore, Otis Alexander of Virginia, and Juliet Machie, deputy director of the Detroit Public Library, said Board President Tony Walker.
Current director Sherri Ervin was not selected for an interview.
The candidates also met with department heads and staff at each branch library.
Machie said Wednesday she withdrew her name for consideration, but she declined to say why.
According to media reports, Machie, who remains in Detroit earning $145,000, sparked controversy in Detroit based on the selection of a Chicago architectural firm for a library project there. Earlier this year, local media claimed the commission overseeing that library system was considering terminating her contract.
Walker said Machie withdrew her name from the Gary spot due to the immediacy of taking over for departing director Ervin, who is earning $96,000 a year. Board members expect the new director to begin immediately after Ervin’s contract ends Oct. 31.
During his interview, Alexander answered allegations of an assault charge brought against him by a library patron in Virginia. Alexander was cleared of those charges and satisfied the board members’ questions, as did Machie when asked about issues in Detroit, Walker said.
“That was much ado about nothing,” Walker said of Alexander’s charges. “We had those news articles during our interviews, and (Machie) had a very valid explanation for each story, and Alexander also answered all of our questions.”
Getting a vote may be a challenge. District policy requires five votes to hire several key positions, but, recently, the board has split on key issues.
“I’m not sure where everyone is, considering only four of us were at all the interviews,” Walker said. “I’ll just keep scheduling meetings every week until we get a director.”