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Blurred lines ‘thicken’ plot in East Cleveland Library saga

1/22/2014, 2:17 a.m.
East Cleveland Public Library

“I began to sense early on that she began to have some apprehension when she came in. I’m sure she had heard some things – some accusations that had been made against Mr. Fambrough, which he’s since been absolved of. East Cleveland is one of those cities that is, politically, almost incestuous. Some of it is based in fact, some of it is just rumors and some of it just is what it is.

“I got the sense that she felt the need to always be on the alert. Almost defensive. I couldn’t really understand that because there were no reservations on the board’s part in terms of hiring her, yet there seemed to be this air of defensiveness, a tug that developed and people would come to the board meetings and act as though the board was trying to stimey her in her position. As a board member, I never felt that was the intent of the board. As things progressed however, I do feel there was a development of more contentiousness – a kind of back and forth, one-up-manship. I knew Sheeba Bey. I live in Glenville and knew of her history in the library as an employee. She really was attempting to get her bearings. I was hoping she would do exceptionally well. I think she had the potential to. I didn’t feel that she needed to have concerns. I thought there were a lot of distractions going on. I thought the school board was a little too much present in the business of the library and I don’t think that was helpful to her. They say hindsight is what it is and I’m still trying to put it all in perspective even as I talk to you.”

The school board has since filed resolutions to remove Fambrough and Branch altogether as members of the board of trustees, a motion both members are denying the school board has the right to do based on Ohio Revised Code 3.08. Fambrough and Branch have not only continued to operate as trustees but have been elected to new positions as officers of the board. Ironically, the same four members – Fambrough, Branch, Ed Parker and Charlie Bibb – that voted to remove Marcus-Bey, are the same four who voted in the new officer positions making Bibb the new president, Branch the vice president, Fambrough the secretary and Monisa Ramseur the interim director.

However, the school board has two appointments of their own still in place, ready to replace the two aforementioned members. One of those appointments, Otis Mays, is calling the school board’s logic into question based on Mays’ reputation of being a sexual predator and the uncle and former roommate of East Cleveland serial killer Michael Madison.

But this isn’t the first time a board member’s character has been called into question. As president, Fambrough was smacked with a dual lawsuit. This is what Freeman referred to as the source of Marcus-Bey’s “defensiveness” after accepting the executive director position.