Writer believes wife unjustly fired from library

Posted 30 October 2014 at 12:00 am


Why do so many people have such a problem with truth? Why do so many of us tolerate what amounts to bullying by abusive authority?

When my wife was fired (10/13/14), the new Hoag Library “Director” told her she was fired for abandoning her post. You be the judge.

On Saturday, Oct. 11, five teenage students appeared at the Library saying they were there for community service. My wife, Grace, called their teacher and found she was not coming in to supervise them. She then got the new “Director’s” phone number from one of his new replacement employees. She called the “Director” to inquire whether he intended to come in to work with them. His response was to immediately begin his customary, heavy-handed verbal harassment of her for doing what needed to be done, contacting the teacher.

Grace was even told not to wait on a patron while he continued to berate her. (All this came from a “Director” who had earlier told the staff, “If you see a problem, you own it.”) At that point, she was needlessly reduced to tears in a public place with a public audience. No one deserves such treatment, particularly not a 30-year employee.

At this point it would be well to recognize at least four things. The first is that the parents of the students likely assumed their teens were doing community service under adult supervision for 2-3 hours. The second is that the Hoag Library’s new “Director” has one face for the public and another for many dedicated employees. The third is that three experienced staff members have left in the last month. The fourth is that this is about what is best for The Library, not Grace.

As the day wore on, Grace gradually developed a nasty headache. After 5 hours, she arranged coverage for 2 hours and went home. She told an employee she was sick and needed to leave and they agreed to cover for her. She notified the “Director’s” secretary by e-mail that same day. Employees have used such arrangements to obtain coverage for years without a policy. The new “Director” never dictated any change in this practice.

When Grace went to work on the last of her 30 years of Mondays, she was terminated by the “Director” in the typical ridiculous way people often are these days (“Give me your keys and empty your locker.”).

What does any of this have to do with the truth?

Though the “Director” said he was terminating her for “abandoning” her post, the real reason is that, just as with the others who were pushed out, she had many years of service. Even though she worked only 13 hours a week, she, just as the others, was expendable for budgetary reasons.

The truth is that my wife has been a solid employee for 30 years. The truth is she has devoted hours of unpaid time, weekly, for much of that period. The truth is she volunteers as a “Friend of the Library” and has for years. She worked six hours today! The truth is she insisted we pay our pledge to the Library two years early. The truth is that she has found a serious buyer for the old Swan Library building.

The truth is that people in the United States don’t need to put up with bullying. But we do every time we say, “There is nothing we can do about it.” How many times have we said just that in the face of authority being abused?

Assuming that all the nonsense going on at The Hoag is “much ado about nothing” does a disservice to your community. It is wishful thinking. If you value truth, justice, and your Library, call a Hoag Library Board member to find out what is going on.

Gary Kent