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FAIRPLAY – For a short time, Park County officials weren’t sure the long-standing library board was a legal entity.

If not, all those grants and other benefits the county libraries had been getting from the state and federal governments would have been in jeopardy.

The question probably never would have come up if there hadn’t been a personnel complaint registered against library director Willanne Dye. When county attorney Steven Groome began to look into the inner workings of the county library system he couldn’t find the resolution that established the board.



“I found that the voters turned down establishing a separate library district in 1998, but I couldn’t find records establishing the board in the first place,” he told the Board of County Commissioners last week.

Dye and the members of the library board were startled to learn of the complaints against the director.



The board also was mystified that there was a question about the legality of its existence.

“We’ve been a library board for an awfully long time,” said board president Bill Simmons. He said it was certainly a shock to think the board didn’t really exist after all these years.

“We just want to be sure we’re all on the same page,” Commissioner Leni Walker told the assembled board.

She said they needed to clarify what the duties of the board are and how they relate to the responsibilities of the county.

After some research, in which county records which had not been catalogued properly were found, Groome established that the board had been set up in 1966 under state regulations that made all library workers county employees. It was clear the board only makes decisions on the operations of the libraries themselves and carries their recommendations to the commissioners for final approval.

That discovery put the personnel dispute squarely in the hands of the BOCC, since the library board doesn’t manage library employees. While not revealing the details of the complaint, the BOCC decided to allow some time for fact-finding and agreed to bring both parties to an April 4 meeting.

Groome also advised that it was up to Dye whether or not the situation would be discussed in an open or closed meeting and suggested that she might want to get an attorney.

Taking the opportunity bring up bricks-and-mortar library business, Simmons asked the BOCC for $19,000 to tint the skylights and upgrade the temperature control system to better cool the Bailey library. He told the commissioners that the work will cost about $21,000.


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