Online Petition Seeks Removal Of New Calloway Library Board Members

Aug 21, 2018

An online petition to remove the three newest members of the Calloway County Public Library Board is approaching its signature goal. 

Democratic Judge/Executive candidate James Gallimore created the Change.org petition.

Current Republican Judge/Executive Larry Elkins has been critical of the library and its board since an expansion was proposed in 2016. Elkins is not seeking re-election in November, but rather seeking the open seat for local state House Rep.

Elkins recently appointed Mark Kennedy, Winfield Rose and Joseph Walker following near simultaneous resignations after a vote to move forward with the expansion. The three new members voted in June to rescind the decision.

Gallimore said the new members have violated Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives library trustee’s standards by not being advocates for the library.

"I want them to know how the public feels about what their doing and lack of what they’re doing," Gallimore said. "We need better leadership and the community deserves better leadership than what they’ve got there."

The KDLA's Kentucky Public Library Trustee Manual lists "advocate for the library" under their job description for new library board trustees. This includes "working for the betterment of library services for the community."

KDLA Commissioner Terry Manuel said defining "advocacy" for a library board is done on a community-by-community basis.

Gallimore cited the new members not appearing at a recent CCPL fundraiser and a confrontation with community members at the August board meeting as grounds for their lack of advocacy and being unfit board members.  

Tensions flared at the meeting where Kennedy shouted at local resident Jennifer Morrison during the public comment period after she questioned whether the new board members served to improve the library or to appease Elkins.

Gallimore said his petition is “acting as a concerned citizen” and not related to his run for Judge/Executive.

Gallimore in January purchased the dilapidated Higgins House property from the library after Elkins pressured the board to buy it back from Murray Main Street-- believing that they sold it to the organization for too small of a price.

Gallimore said he will present the petition to the board at the next meeting.

Kennedy said in the last meeting that he and the other new members “didn’t come here to tear this library down” but rather to help improve the library.