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Gary Library will get new director from Virginia

Updated: October 18, 2011 9:06PM



GARY — A potentially lengthy showdown fizzled into a confused discussion of resolutions, without so much as mentioning any candidates’ names, but the Gary public library system will get a new director next month.

The library board, which failed twice to get a decision earlier this month, voted 6-0 to hire Otis D. Alexander, of Falls Church, Va., as its new director.

He beat out Kennedy Branch Library Brenda Moore for the system’s top spot.

Board member Paula Nalls did not attend the meeting.

The board also voted to extend Director Sherri Ervin’s contract an additional 30 days to help make the transition to a new head, board members said Tuesday.

Ervin was not invited to interview to keep her job, which originally was scheduled to end this month.

But, without selecting a new director, the system would have been without a director had the board not agreed on a new leader and extended Ervin’s contract.

“We were just trying to get some consensus among trustees about making the transition,” said board member Nancy Valentine.

Two weeks ago, she abstained from voting for Alexander, causing the hiring measure to fail.

According to library policy, the board needs a “super majority” of five of seven members for key hiring and firing decisions.

“We extended Ms. Ervin’s time that she would be a director to facilitate a transition to a new director,” said board president Tony Walker.

The vote came at the end of a policy meeting, but, unlike previous attempts, it was not a standard up or down vote. Instead, the board bundled two resolutions - one marking Alexander’s start date and the other extending Ervin’s contract from Oct. 31 to Nov. 30 - into one vote.

Ervin declined to comment on plans for her future, saying she would have a statement just before her departure.



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