For the second meeting in a row, the Girard City Council declined to take action Monday to fill a seat on the Girard Public Library Board of Trustees.



At the council's April 14 meeting, Mayor Maurice Harley informed the council he had received a letter requesting he appoint Faith Paoni to serve on the Board of Trustees of the library to fill a vacancy left by the impending departure of current board member Carla Bryan. Bryan's term, her second consecutive four-year term, expires today (Wednesday).

For the second meeting in a row, the Girard City Council declined to take action Monday to fill a seat on the Girard Public Library Board of Trustees.

At the council's April 14 meeting, Mayor Maurice Harley informed the council he had received a letter requesting he appoint Faith Paoni to serve on the Board of Trustees of the library to fill a vacancy left by the impending departure of current board member Carla Bryan. Bryan's term, her second consecutive four-year term, expires today (Wednesday).

A motion by Daniel Smith to approve Harley's appointment of Paoni died for lack of a second.

Monday, Harley again asked for approval to appoint Paoni to the library board. Smith again moved for her approval, a motion that, again, died for lack of a second.

Harley said he believes three members of the city council are not acting in good faith in their failure to approve the appointment of a qualified individual to the board.

“The refusal of this council to approve the appointment to the library board concerns me,” Harley said during the meeting. “I don't know what we're going to do at this point.”

Smith said he couldn't understand his fellow council member's refusal to confirm the mayor's appointment.

“I was shocked that I didn't get a second on my motion,” Smith said. “I don't understand why I couldn't get a second on it. I think (Paoni) would be a wonderful asset to any of our boards. It's beyond me.”

After the meeting, Harley said he had an alternate selection, Joyce Taylor, who was equally qualified and had also agreed to serve. He didn't place her name before the council for fear the same thing would happen.

Harley said he believes three members of the council — Richard Cussimanio, Sandra Hallacy and Sharon Mattson — had taken issue in the past with a similar situation regarding another appointment to the library board. He thinks the three are seeking retribution for his refusal to appoint the person they wanted at the time.

“I understand the statement they're trying to make,” Harley said. “Neither of us have wanted to bend.”

Contacted by phone after the meeting, Hallacy and Mattson both declined to comment on the situation.

“We have some things we need to work out,” Cussimanio said. “Hopefully, we'll get this worked out in the near future.”

The Governing Body Handbook, published by the Kansas League of Municipalities, is the guide book for city government. It outlines what happens when a council declines to approve an appointment and a mayor won't appoint someone else. According to the Handbook, the current appointee — in this case, Bryan — stays in office.

It creates a conflict with state statute, however. Bryan has reached her two-term limit mandated by state library guidelines. She can't serve another term until she takes at least a year hiatus from the seven-member Library Board.

The Handbook further states the council members are within their rights to not approve an appointment, if they don't believe “the person is qualified, or if they believe he or she will not be a good person for the particular office . . .”

But, in the next section, the Handbook calls upon council members to “act in good faith” when ruling on mayoral appointments, particularly when withholding approval. Confirmation should only be withheld for a good reason, the Handbook states.

“It's the mayor's job to fill these positions and appoint these boards,” Smith said. “If the mayor sees fit to appoint somebody to a board, I always thought I should be loyal and support that.

“I can't imagine what the reason would be not to want her on any of the boards. The thing that disturbs me, with so many other things going on and the projects we have going, this certainly isn't something to bicker over.”

The bottom line, Harley said, is it will be the Library Board that's going to suffer because of what he said is the refusal of three members of the city council to approve the appointment because of an old disagreement.

“When they allow that to carry over into unrelated appointments, I don't think they're fulfilling the duties they were elected to fill,” Harley said. “I think it's unfair to the library board to not appoint a qualified individual to serve on that board.”