The Calloway County Public Library Board has selected two candidates to fill a seat opening in August.
Joseph Walker was one of three appointed by former Judge/Executive Larry Elkins following the near simultaneous resignations of previous members. The remaining board did not have enough members to meet, leaving the appointment process nearly entirely up to Elkins.
Walker’s term expires August 15.
Board members secretly ranked their choices from the eight applicants. Those applicants were Vonnie Hays Adams, Georgena Taylor, Gayle Rogers, Angela Mitchell, Nancy Mieure, John Hughes, Brandi Besand and Joseph Walker (reapplying for his seat).
The top ranked applicants were Walker and Hays Adams.
According to LinkedIn, Adams is the director of patient access at Murray Calloway County Hospital and formerly served in executive director roles at Brookdale Murray (a senior living facility) and the Merryman House Domestic Crisis Center. She also ran for a county magistrate seat last year, but lost in the primary.
A central issue involving the board is whether to move forward with an expansion and renovation and how much it should cost. The Elkins appointees rescinded the previous board’s vote to move forward with a $6.4 million dollar plan. The issue has been hotly debated since. Community members have overwhelmingly expressed a desire for an expansion and renovation.
Walker has said he wants the board to operate like a business and focus less on 'brick and mortar' aspects. He has said he does not oppose the idea of an expansion, but felt that previously-approved amount was too expensive. He has said he supports modernizing the library’s equipment and services.
The names go to the Kentucky Department For Libraries and Archives for approval. Current Judge/Executive Kenny Imes will then select one for county Fiscal Court approval.
Imes attended the meeting and told WKMS News his selection would be someone he feels is best for the position. He said he hopes the person will work with the board and not have strong predispositions one way or another. Imes did not specifically state whether he supported an expansion, but noted Calloway County is a growing community and services should meet those needs. He said he feels the community fares well when people come together on issues.
In a candidate forum last year, Imes said he wanted to expand the children's area and make it more secure. He said he believes libraries, like good school districts, can help bolster economic development.