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Roberts Rules of ‘dis-order’ at another E.C. library meeting

Kevin Chill Heard | 3/19/2014, 5:58 p.m.

By KEVIN CHILL HEARD

Managing Editor

@houseofchill

Well, at least they did have a full meeting this time… before things went haywire.

The saga that has become the East Cleveland Library Board of Trustees continued this past Monday night. At last count, the seven member board had two of its members removed by the East Cleveland School Board, only to have those two members reject the School Board’s authority to dismiss them despite the fact that it was the school board who appointed them.

The School Board then appointed two new members but, with former trustee president William Fambrough and former secretary Devin Branch refusing to leave, the trustee board awkwardly totaled nine members.

Things got a little more complicated (more or less) when trustee Ed Parker resigned on Monday, March 10, citing “the turmoil surrounding the current composition of the Board” and the “deterioration” of his hearing.

With Parker’s departure, the four “man” voting block and quorum of Fambrough, Branch, Parker and Charles Bibbs that dismissed the library’s executive director Sheba Marcus-Bey and replaced her with interim director Monisa Ramseur, was now down to just three members. And that’s if you count the two who were holding out against being dismissed.

This week’s gathering didn’t have members of the county prosecutor’s office escorted by armed deputy sheriffs that starkly dominated the scenery of the last meeting, but still presented its own dramatic flair.

From the outset, the meeting was contentious. The community audience and board members often felt the need to voice opinions about how the meeting should proceed.

Ramsuer gave a lengthy and heartfelt report. Citical rebuttals from trustee Leontine Synor and Library fiscal agent Charlene Hollowell followed.

In her own report, Hollowell informed the board that the library’s insurance had lapsed as of the previous midnight despite her best efforts to find a company willing to cover them due to all of the negative press the library has been receiving.

After some confusion as to how they were going to vote to extend their meeting time past the scheduled 9 p.m. designation, things got “out of order.”

Once a motion was made and seconded to accept the school board’s resolution to dismiss Fambrough and Branch (Branch was not present) from the trustee board, events took an even more interesting turn.

Bibbs refused to call for a vote on the motion to dismiss Fambrough and Branch saying that he was waiting for a response from Assistant County Prosecutor Brian Gutkoski that he had personally sent. The new five member majority then took matters into their own hands and elected Dr. Mary Rice as “president pro em” and went on with the vote to oust Farnborough and Branch.

Bibbs maintained that he would not acknowledge the board’s actions until he received correspondence from the prosecutor’s office in reference to his personal inquiry as trustee president. Fambrough attempted to present documentation as to why the East Cleveland School Board had no power in the matter, despite documentation presented at the meeting from County Prosecutor Tim McGinty and the Ohio Attorney General saying otherwise.

Though the Call and Post cannot confirm, it was stated during the meeting, former library Executive Director Greg Reese had been in attendance. But we can confirm that current School Board President Una Keenon was present.

While the East Cleveland Library community room was still in an uproar over what had transpired, the five majority trustees held a closed Executive Session and later announced that Thurs., March 20, 2014 a trustee meeting will be held to discuss board reorganization and human resources issues.

Bibbs never-the-less was steadfast in maintaining that he held none of the board’s actions as official.