Meaford's council and municipal staff have acknowledged that their appointment of four new library board members at a special meeting held on December 15, was in contravention of the Public Libraries Act, and will re-do the process following the Notice of Vacancies section (sec. 11) of the Act which dictates that
a municipality “shall give public notice of vacancies on the board by publishing a notice of them, inviting applications, in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality.”
In appointing the four public library board members on December 15, council had reached out to residents who had previously expressed interest in serving on the library board rather than giving public notice and accepting applications from interested residents, a contravention of the Public Libraries Act.
“The Municipality of Meaford extends our sincere thanks to the residents who were appointed by by-law on December 15, 2016 to the Meaford Public Library Board. At this time, to ensure compliance with Section 11 of the Public Libraries Act which requires the posting of a notice in a local paper of vacancies on the Meaford Public Library Board, the Municipal of Meaford will be implementing the following revised approach,” said Meaford CAO in an email on Friday morning (December 16) that included a press release and the library board application form.
“With the resignation of the five public appointees of the Meaford Public Library Board effective December 13, 2016, the Board was not compliant with the Public Libraries Act whereby the board shall be comprised of at least five members appointed by municipal council with only two council appointees remaining on the Board. Per section 12 of the Public Libraries Act, vacancies shall promptly be filled,” said the Municipality in the press release. “On December 14, 2016, staff provided our best advice to Council to deal with a very unique and emergency situation regarding the Meaford Public Library. With the on-going issue of access to the Owen Sound library and that the extension ends January 30, 2017, it was critical to ensure that board members were in place to continue discussions on a board to board basis as mandated by the Public Libraries Act.”
Morrissey noted that upon reflection, the process will be undertaken again, this time following the legislation in the Public Libraries Act.
“Review has been undertaken and on December 16, 2016 it was decided to post the vacancies for the Public Library Board as required by Section 11 of the Public Libraries Act. The attached notice will be placed on our website. An ad will also appear in a local paper,” said Morrissey in the press release.
Accordingly, the following process will be implemented:
Applications will be posted today with a closing date of Monday, January 9, 2017
An ad will appear in a local paper (anticipated week of December 19)
The Nominating Committee will meet on January 16, 2017 to review applications
Appointments completed by by-law at the Council meeting on January 23, 2016.
This in effect means that:
The Library Board will not be meeting until Council makes a final determination of appointments on January 23, 2017.
The Library Board meeting of January 11, 2017 will be cancelled and rescheduled.
The Library CEO will be able to get guidance from the two remaining board members, Deputy Mayor Greenfield and Councillor Poetker and CAO Morrissey in the meantime.
There will be no board to board negotiations of any kind during this time period. This may result in challenges to the continuation of access to services at the Owen Sound North Grey Union Public Library.
“We anticipate that the City of Owen Sound will consider on January 16, 2017 the approved grant of $120,500 offered by the Municipality of Meaford to the city for access to the Owen Sound North Grey Union Public Library by all residents of the Municipality of Meaford for the term January 1 to December 31, 2017,” said Morrissey. “We anticipate that orientation of new Board members will be as soon as possible in January after formal appointments on the 23.”