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Local News

City officials are no-shows at library board meeting

Yorkville Library Board President Russ Walter speaks during the board's meeting Monday evening, June 11.
Yorkville Library Board President Russ Walter speaks during the board's meeting Monday evening, June 11.

Yorkville Library Board officials voiced frustration at a meeting Monday evening, June 11, after city of Yorkville officials were no-shows at the meeting despite having an open invitation for a public dialogue.

Relations have been strained between the library board and Mayor Gary Golinski and the City Council since the board last year rejected an idea floated by city Parks and Recreation Director Tim Evans and backed by Golinski that the library share staff and a director with the Parks and Recreation Department.

The library board voted unanimously last fall to hire Elisa Topper as full-time director, following the retirement of longtime director Michelle Pfister.

The city and the library board also have been in negotiations for a new agreement between the two parties. An agreement had been in place since 1997, but the City Council voted in October to terminate the agreement as of May 1.

In February, Golinski and some aldermen voiced frustration after listening to audio of a library board committee meeting in which members criticized the role of the city in running the library.

At the Feb. 13 City Council meeting, Golinski wondered aloud, “I’m wondering why we even need an IGA (intergovernmental agreement).” Golinski noted that the city decided that it didn’t need an agreement with School District 115.

On May 18, Library Board President Russ Walter sent an email to Golinski, aldermen and City Administrator Bart Olson inviting them to Monday’s board meeting for an “open dialogue.”

“We would like to open the discussion that seemed to have broken down to get a better coordinated effort as it pertains to the relationship between the Library Board and City Council,” Walter wrote in the email.

At Monday’s meeting, Walter addressed the lack of city officials attending the meeting.

“We invited them, got no response back from them,” he said. “They’re the ones who say we don’t want to talk to them, but when we invite them, they don’t show up. Even our (city council) liaison didn’t show up, so we can’t have her bring our concerns back to the city council. So, a short dialogue.“

Walter said he is “trying” to have discussions with city officials.

“I don’t know what we can do,” Walter said. “It almost looks like the conversation has to be on their terms. We can’t talk at city council. We’re trying to do what we can.”

When asked via email Tuesday about the lack of attendance by city officials at Monday’s library board meeting, Golinski responded, “There was a library board meeting last night?”

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