Farmington Library board votes for IT staff ‘exit package’

More than a month after placing three Information Technology (IT) employees on leave, Farmington Community Library trustees voted on Monday to let them go.

Library director Riti Grover said in September that the employees were removed after a review of the library’s computer system found vulnerabilities that jeopardized data privacy. She later said that no patron data was at risk.

Earlier this month, trustees voted to hire Troy-based MBM Technology Solutions, which conducted the review, for 90 days. A staff count list maintained by Restore the Farmington Community Library, a group that has advocated for the return of all staff furloughed in April, shows one staff member remaining out of seven computer tech positions.

The action taken Monday afternoon was the only item on a special meeting agenda except for public comment, during which some patrons questioned the IT staff action.

Joe O’Connor said from his point of view, the move seemed rushed. He said he was trying to keep an open mind because the board decision was unanimous.

“There have been some unanswered questions as to the timing and the rationale behind it, and the financial ramifications, and I know it’s probably not the number one concern, but the human toll of people who have been dedicated to the library to be cut loose in this fashion,” he said.

Board president Jim White said trustees “did not want to string this situation out any longer.”

“The library needs to move in a different direction to build a 21st century environment,” he said. “I know these are staff members who are loved by their colleagues and by patrons.”

“None of us have taken this lightly,” Grover said. “We cannot leave our colleagues hanging in limbo, a decision has to be taken… I totally trust the cumulative decision of all of us here to be the right step.”

Trustee Megan Stryd, appointed in August to represent Farmington, said Grover “is not a woman out there on her own. We, as a board, all stand with her on the decisions being made.”

While some who spoke asked for more transparency, trustees said that’s not easy to do with IT issues.

” I wouldn’t go on the public record and tell my community and neighbors how to get into my house,” said trustee Michelle Kelly, who was appointed with Stryd. “I’m not going to tell you where my hide-a-key is, and I’m not going to tell you which windows are open… Bad actors might be able to exploit that.”

Listen to the meeting:

 

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