So I could not cover the "final meeting" last night of the Library Director Evaluation Committee's supposed final meeting, but fortunately Jones Library Trustee Chris Hoffmann (who is not on the subcommittee--and they hate it when he shows up) is a glutton for punishment and attended, even writing an overview that he sent out to a private listserve of 24 concerned citizens. One of them forwarded to me and he gave me permission to publish.
I think before this Jones Library Trustees snafu has ended somebody should award trustee Chris Hoffmann a Silver Star for going above and beyond the call of duty. Or maybe a Purple Heart. Considering his field dispatch I'm kind of glad I could not make the Evaluation Subcommittee meeting last night at 7:30, supposedly their final one. But, apparently not.
Jones Library Trustee Chris Hoffmann reports:
Thank you Pat, Sarah, and most especially Carol, for wasting three hours of my life. We got out at 10:35pm.
I never knew a meeting could be excruciatingly boring in content while simultaneously being infuriating in tone.
They spent three hours crafting a letter to the editor/column for the Gazette. Some of my notes:
"Should this be a comma or a semicolon?" "Capital M or lowercase m?"
Pat: can't we each draft our own letters in the comfort of our homes and meet later to merge them?" Carol: "C'mon just give me 10 minutes. I can do it."
Pat: "I don't know if that's important. Hey, Chris is here. Perhaps he could tell us what he thinks the most important parts of his memo were." Me: "No, I think I'll leave that for you folks to figure out."
blah blah blah
I think they are just trying to bore us to death
Pat: "Carol, couldn't you just write the draft yourself? Here in the Police Station if your house is a mess. Then let the rest of us go home?" Carol: "But then we may not make the deadline for the Bulletin"
Sarah: "Carol, only lawyers would use the word 'jurisdiction'"
Carol: "A certain other trustee has disagreed with our report". Me: "Carol, I don't mind if you use my name". Carol: "No, we're taking the high road."
Carol: "I really think we should say something about X", Sarah: "Let's see... wordcount is 649. NO!! That's it! No more!!!"
Basic summation -- I have never seen three people who so completely miss the point. They thought my report was entirely about a formal process, and their column is almost entirely about how they followed a process to the letter of the law: how they interviewed people, what they said to them before the interview, what an executive session is, with an extended quotation from the lawyer's letter proving they needed to go into executive session, and so on. Even if the Bulletin prints it, I can't imagine anyone actually reading past the first paragraph!
Pat jumped ship around 8:30pm. Carol begged her to stay, and told her she could just go home, get her hearing aids, and come right back. "That's NOT the problem, Carol!", Pat snapped back.
One thing I found grimly amusing. Since they are the only Evaluation Committee in Bonnie's tenure to insist on creating a confidential document as their evaluation, they are now forced to tie themselves in knots to find ways to talk about out in a public way! As ye sow, so shall ye reap, or similar aphorism comes to mind. Pat had a mini-meltdown while trying to convince Carol there must be a legal way to tell people what the Director's goals are, at least. God bless her, Tina even suggested they create a separate generic summary of the goals as a public document, but Carol would have none of it.
Believe or not, they are going to meet at 8am on Wednesday so Pat can read it and then all of them will formally approve it. They said they're going to contact the Bulletin right away and ask for space for a column if the paper will wait until Wednesday morning to see it!
For what it's worth, it's all on video. As is the public comment section of our Trustee meeting. The part covering Carol's remote participation didn't come out. Once I figure out how to get the video off the camera, I may post bits to YouTube.