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Defenders speak out for ousted Albion library director

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 March 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – Library user Donna Wolcott said the board of trustees treated former director Susan Rudnicky poorly when she was dismissed last week during regular business hours. “We wouldn’t have this library without Susan,” Wolcott said about Rudnicky.

ALBION – Supporters of Susan Rudnicky, the library director in Albion for 15 years, spoke out in her defense at tonight’s meeting of the Swan Library Association board of directors. That board on March 11 voted to dismiss Rudnicky.

One of the trustees, Mary Anne Braunbach, resigned tonight over the way Rudnicky was let go. “It could have been less public, less humiliating, and could have avoided the discomfort for all who observed,” Braunbach said while submitting her resignation.

Braunbach didn’t attend the March 11 board meeting because she is president of Friends of the Library. Rudnicky was escorted out of the library at 6:15 p.m. last Tuesday. She was walked past the group of Friends and other patrons.

“What bothers me is the way you did it,” said Donna Wolcott, a library patron. “It was very insensitive. I’m just appalled.”

The walking out of the building fed rumors in the community that Rudnicky must have done something very wrong, Wolcott said.

Rudnicky did not do anything illegal nor was there any malfeasance, said Kevin Doherty, the board president. But she didn’t follow directives from the board, an issue that had been ongoing for years, he said.

Mary Anne Braunbach, a trustee for the Swan Library Association board of directors, announces her resignation from the board tonight due to way the board dismissed library director Susan Rudnicky last week. Other board members in the photo include Dele Theodorakos, center, and Linda Smith.

Wolcott said Rudnicky was always professional with the public, and she was committed to community causes, serving as president of the Cobblestone Society Museum and a member of the Rotary Club. She also wrote grants that netted $800,000 for the construction of the new Hoag Library, which opened in July 2012.

“We wouldn’t have this library without Susan,” Wolcott said.

Another library user Judy Manley, a member of the Friends, also spoke in support of Rudnicky. Rudnicky’s long-time assistant Susie Gaylard said the board should have celebrated Rudnicky, and her tireless work to get the new library built. The board should have let Rudnicky retire. She turns 62 later this year, Gaylard said.

“I was at the Friends meeting and it was very unfriendly,” Gaylard said. “She wasn’t shown the respect she was due.”

Doherty said the timing of the dismissal wasn’t intended to fall during the Friends meeting. The Friends usually meet at 7 p.m. on a Wednesday but the time was moved to 6 p.m. on a Tuesday.

Ken Braunbach, a library supporter who is married to Mary Anne, challenged Doherty and the board to let the community know that Rudnicky didn’t do anything illegal.

“You have to get that stigma off her,” Braunbach said. “It’s unfair to Susan.”