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Sept. 21 - Exercising options, County Manager Lee Smith suggests Commissioners consider seeking new Library MOU

Category: Local Media & Agencies

by Lou Phelps, SBJ
September 21, 2016 - The Chatham County Commission has posted its Agenda for this Friday’s meeting, and it contains a bombshell: the Commissioners will be asked to consider directing County Manager Lee Smith to send the library system a six-month notice of the board’s intent to terminate its long-standing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Live Oak Public Libraries Regional Trustee, and negotiate a new agreement, if possible.
Chatham County now appoints 8 of the 11 members of the Board of Trustees, covers almost 75% of its operating budget, and recently put in more than $7 million in SPLOST funds. Tuesday, Chairman Rev. Douglas Harn named officers that ignored new appointees of the Commissioners, and has taken other actions to ignore the wishes and direction of the Chatham County government. 
In an editorial today by the Savannah Business Journal, a review of the Trustees’ minutes appears to indicate that Harn was not elected Chairman in compliance with the organizations’ Constitution and Bylaws.
Chatham County also insures all buildings in the County,
  and money collected by the Live Oak Foundation comes heavily from Chatham County donors.
County Manager Smith confirmed Wednesday that he is recommending terminating the MOU. 
“The old contract, or MOU, is in my opinion pretty weak as far as financial transparency and accountability,” Smith said. “Until recently, we’ve not received financial reports from the library in years,” which in violation of the Board of Trustees’ Constitution and Bylaws.

Here is the MOU under discussion, signed back in 2004. file:///C:/Users/Louise/Dropbox/CEN%20News%20Department/News%20-%20SAVANNAH%20MAJOR%20DOCUMENTS/CHATHAM%20COUNTY/Memorandum%20of%20Understanding%20Live%20Oak%20Libraries%2003-26-04%20(1)%20(1).pdf

Chatham County now has seven active members on the Board of Trustees. They are Edward Divine, Dean Horstman, Dawoud Stephenson, Dr. Nazarene German, Sanda S. Thomson, Charlotte Welch and Frank J. Mendelson.  There is a vacancy in its eighth appointee with Lockamy’s resignation. The Commissioners will need to name a replacement.

One of the seven - Dr. Nazarene German – is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Live Oak Library Foundation.


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