Town seeks direct appointment of Library CEO


“In a departure from past practice and in possible opposition to the Public Libraries Act, the Town of Pelham has requested that Vickie vanRavenswaay, Director of Recreation, Culture, and Wellness, also assume the duties of the Pelham Public Library’s CEO.”

“The Ontario Public Libraries Act specifies that library boards are to function as independent entities, hiring their own chief executive officers— individuals who specifically do not answer to a municipality.

The Voice understands that following Wednesday night’s meeting, the board rejected the municipality’s request, informing the Town on Thursday that Acting CEO Amy Guilmette will remain in the position for the foreseeable future.”

“The Public Libraries Act’s language pertaining to the appointment of CEOs seems unambiguous: “A public library board has the power to appoint a library chief executive officer (CEO). The CEO is a library board employee and not a municipal employee. The CEO reports to the board and not to the municipality. The CEO does not report in a dual relationship to both the board and the municipality.”

Nothing in the Act appears to prohibit a library CEO from performing his or her duties part-time, or from holding separate employment, including with a municipality. What’s mandated is that the library CEO reports to the library board, not to the municipal council.

On the matter of penalties, the Act is arguably more bark than bite. If a municipality is found to be in contravention, it risks losing provincial funding for its library in the form of its Public Libraries Operating Grant (PLOG). There are no criminal or other sanctions.”