More trustees leave Farmington library board in appointment controversy

Two more Farmington Community Library Board members have resigned following the controversial appointment of a Farmington Hills trustee.

Library Director Elyse Streit confirmed the resignations of Mary Bush and Gerald Bosler, both of Farmington. Bosler had served as board president.

Maria Taylor David Delind Johnna Balk Farmington City Council

That leaves just one trustee, Jim White of Farmington, who has served longer than six months. Despite the board room upheaval, Streit said, patrons should see business as usual.

“I am optimistic that normal Library operations will not be affected while new members get up to speed,” she wrote in an email.

Farmington Community Library
Former Farmington Community Library trustee Camilla Liebold talked to Hills officials last month about her resignation from the board. 

The district library board consists of eight members, four appointed from Farmington and four from Farmington Hills. In January, Farmington Hills council members appointed library board critic Bill Largent to replace long-time trustee Bruce Lazar, after a blow-up that stemmed from the library cafe closure.

Some Farmington Hills council members have since said they were not informed of Lazar’s reappointment request. Mayor Ken Massey, who recommended Largent, said he did so because trustees would not turn over detailed budget information requested by the council.

Library officials provided a budget summary and clean audit report. Council members have said that in the past, they received a larger document with more detailed information. Officials have also acknowledged that the independent District Library board is under no obligation to fulfill their request.

“It was my decision, not council’s decision, but we were getting absolutely nowhere with the library,” Massey said of Largent’s appointment. “The best tool, the only tool we have is to make a change… I knew it was going to be controversial.”

Since January 1, the City of Farmington Hills has appointed four new board members, following a string of resignations. Trustee Camilla Liebold, who resigned in late April, told Hills council members that the board had become “toxic”.

“Our debates were civil and respectful,” she said. “The trustee appointed in January (Largent) has an approach that is confrontational.”

Farmington residents can apply for a seat on the library board by downloading an application from the city’s website or calling 248-474-5500, ext. 2221.

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