Message from the Library Board of Trustees

The WGRL Board of Trustees met on May 21st at the Grayson Public Library. Public comments were heard, all emails and letters received concerning the recent layoffs of part time employees due to the Covid-19 pandemic were read into the meeting record, and the board carefully considered all available information.

Guided by the Governor’s regulations and guidelines for trying to control the spread of thepandemic, the WGRL realized it would not reopen its doors soon, and the fiscal uncertainty no longer allowed all employees to continue with paid leave that began on March 19, 2020. The Library Director, Mary Thomas, in consultation with members of the Board, did her due diligence and commenced researching the library’s options.

The Library of Virginia’s Human Resource Director, Library of Virginia’s Director of Library Development and Networking Division, a Public Library Consultant and other Library Directors in Virginia were all consulted by Director Thomas who provided the Board with three possible options: continue with paid leave, furlough, or layoff. The pros, cons, and the financial impact of each option on the employee were also presented to the Board members. The option of furlough was deemed not available because it was necessary to give employees a firm date to return to work, which was and is not possible. The Board supported the decision to layoff part time employees with two weeks additional paid leave. The Board of Trustees was kept informed and gave input throughout this process. The Board feels confident that it, and Director Thomas, followed a valid process regarding the layoffs.

The WGRL Board meetings are open to the public and public comments are heard and considered. We review financial statements at every board meeting, conduct independent annual audits, review, update, and improve policies, and invite input from all stakeholders. All part-time employees who were laid off are invited to apply if/when part-time positions once again are needed. The Board values the expertise of both its full and part-time staff and appreciates the role they play in ensuring our library patrons have a positive experience as their needs are met.

The WGRL Personnel Policy has a Grievance Procedure (Problem Resolution), however employees upset with the layoff chose to air their complaints on social media rather than abiding by the procedures in the policy. We regret the negative impact that their action has had on our constituents.

The Board fully supports the Director, Mary Thomas, and is making no changes to her employment at this time.

The Library Director is currently making plans to safely resume library services. Plans for the reopening will be posted on the WGRL webpage.

Judy Buck
Chair, WGRL Board of Trustees