CORRECTION: We incorrectly identified Crystal Perry as Library Board secretary. Perry is vice-chair. Brenda Harrison is secretary. We regret the error. --Ed.
The Clayton County Library Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday night to place Library Director Rosalind K. Lett on leave without pay, effective immediately.
Lett has until noon on September 7 to reinstate her state librarian’s license, which lapsed over two years ago, or face termination.
The board also unanimously voted to name Deputy Director Scott Parham as interim director of CCLS “until such time that Director Lett is reinstated or a new director is hired, whichever comes first,” Board Chair Mapilar Dahn said.
Board Vice Chair Crystal Perry said, “You have to be certified to receive funding.” The University System of Georgia’s Georgia Public Library Service oversees distribution of funds to public libraries statewide.
Dahn said, “The state has some decision making to do when the director is not certified. Of course, a position like the librarian positions, are funded by the state. So they get to decide on a few things, in terms of pay and other requirements….There are certain things that we want to make sure of that are taken care of internally. As you heard in the meeting, we had to make some decisions about personnel.”
Several librarians have left CCLS in recent months. Some sent unsigned letters to The Clayton Crescent, complaining about Lett’s management style and the fact that she had allowed her certification to lapse.
Dahn declined to state how many librarians have left.
“We’re always looking to hire wonderful librarians,” she said.
Asked if the library system was short-staffed right now, Dahn replied, “That’s a question that I think everyone in all departments of society would say yes. So yeah, but we’re not unique to that. “
The move comes amid pushback from Jonesboro residents and officials who are upset about the Jonesboro branch shutdown without any comparable replacement.
Melanie Slaton, an employment attorney present at the meeting, declined comment.
The Clayton Crescent had e-mailed Lett before the meeting, asking her to confirm whether it was about her expired license, but she did not respond.