Not on board with decision


On Nov. 25, East Palestine Village Council voted to deny a member of the East Palestine Library Board the opportunity to serve another term.

Why did they do this? Because they could.

A recent change to the Ohio Library Board bylaws now places the appointing authority to local library boards in the hands of the city or village councils, rather than the mayor.

After 39 years of exemplary service to the East Palestine community, the board member had written a letter, outlining accomplishments, along with the request to continue in this unpaid and little-recognized position for the next term. Two other current board members, who did the same, were renewed, as three positions were up for renewal or replacement at this time. In addition, the remaining current board members of the East Palestine Memorial Public Library sent their own letter, requesting the renewal of all three current board members to village council. Armed with the letters from these candidates, from the current board of trustees and from one other applicant, the council members went into executive session to discuss the matter. They renewed two and denied the one.

If you have read this far, you might ask, what is the big deal? It is only a library, and an unpaid position at that.

My answer would be that in cities and villages like East Palestine, the local library serves as a linchpin to the well-being and intellectual health of the community as they struggle through significant financial and social challenges. The services it provides are well-documented, immeasurable, and usually little recognized.

Over the years, members of the East Palestine Library Board have given their talents and skills to maintain the integrity and continuity of this valuable community resource. No one on the current board has given more, over a span of 39 years, than the member who was replaced.

Why was this member denied renewal? We will never know.

It should be noted that only one member of the village council has ever attended a library board meeting, and that was a single meeting. None of the other council members, to my knowledge, has ever attended a library board meeting and quite frankly, I doubt they have much, if any, understanding of the contributions their fellow citizens make in directing one of the most significant and long-lasting institutions in East Palestine.

Why did they do this? Because they could.

But in doing so, they threw away one of the most respected and valuable members of the board who has given a lifetime of service to the community and had asked for another term to continue that service.

Rachel Mercer

East Palestine