Fullerton City Council will not take over public library’s board of trustees

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Photograph of Fullerton library.
(William Robbins/ Daily Titan)

The Fullerton City Council unanimously agreed to absolve the motion that would have replaced the public library’s board of trustees with members of the council Tuesday night.

During the council meeting, Mayor Doug Chaffee asked if anyone in the audience supported the idea of the city council also serving as the library’s board of trustees, to which there was no response. When asked if the board of trustees should be left as it was, almost all of the audience stood in solidarity.

“Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke,” said Kathy Dasney, who has been a staff member of the Fullerton Public Library for decades.

Dasney opposed the council’s actions that would have stripped the library’s board of any administrative power.

Fullerton library
(Will Robbins/ Daily Titan)

“Our board members come to the table with no personal or political agenda. They are there to make decisions that are in the best interest of the library,” Dasney said.

The proposal, which was first proposed by Councilwoman Jennifer Fitzgerald in May, would have effectively replaced the board with the city council.

“Libraries protect the right to free speech and support democratic institutions written into our Constitution,” said one public commenter. “Why would you want to change something that is so successful and has provided us with the magnificent library we have today?”

During the period of open comment in the meeting, multiple people publicly criticized the council members with others in the audience sharing the same sentiment.

“I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this,” said one Fullerton resident. We’re trying to do the right thing but we see so many unethical things going on in our city.”

The resident brought her two children with her to the meeting in an attempt “to show our children how to do things the right way.”

“I do not like the idea of the council serving as the board, because then we’re reporting to ourselves. The board of trustees reports to the council, and if we are one in the same, there is no check and balance,” Chaffee said.

All five members of the council voted unanimously to not assume the role of the library board of trustees.

“I think it was outstanding that the council took the time to listen to the public, to reflect on what it is that we value as a library and responded in a really positive fashion,” said trustee board member Ryan Cantor after the council announced its decision.

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