More than a year of turmoil continues for the Farmington Community Library, as trustees begin the search for a new director.
Elyse Streit, who spent her entire career in the system, submitted her resignation on Thursday, April 18. Her last day was Thursday, May 2.
The move follows multiple trustee resignations in 2018, after Farmington Hills Mayor Ken Massey chose to not reappoint a long-time board member, and recommended a vocal library board critic to fill the position. At the time, Massey said he made the change because trustees had not cooperated with council requests for more detailed information about the library’s budget.
Evaluation in ‘holding pattern’
Board president Jim White said the board had planned to present Streit’s evaluation on April 11, but trustees were “spread out” in their assessments of her performance.
“We found the tool (recommended by the Michigan Library Association) wasn’t specific enough to be helpful,” White said. “It was too subjective. We wanted to work out a new tool that was more objective… I wanted this to be fair for her, where she didn’t feel like she was being criticized.”
That put Streit in a “holding pattern” with regard to her compensation, he said, adding, “It’s probably been almost two years since she was evaluated.”
Staff steps up
White said the board knows how important it is to choose the right person to follow Streit; in the meantime, the branch managers are maintaining operations.
”We just want to make sure we don’t put too much on their plates by default,” he added. “The staff has done just a stellar job of not letting this trickle down to the day-to-day operations of the library. They have just performed in an outstanding manner.”
White said the state library has resources to help the board through the hiring process, but there’s no specific timeline at this point.
“Shorter rather than longer,” he said. “It kind of depends on who’s out there. I just don’t know how long this will take.”
The Main Library hosted a Budget Town Hall with Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Streit’s last day, and Whitmer presented her with a proclamation honoring her years of service.
The next Board of Trustees meeting is slated Thursday, May 9, 7 p.m.; a meeting agenda will be posted at farmlib.org/meeting-minutes/. The board has also scheduled a 6:30 p.m. public hearing that day for the library’s proposed 2019-2020 budget. Both meetings will be held at the Main Library, 32737 W. 12 Mile Rd. in Farmington Hills.