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On the hot seat

Library Board member Ponikvar faces ouster

The Moffat County Library Board of Trustees could shelve one its members at its next meeting.

The library board’s members voted 3-1 Monday to write a letter to board member John Ponikvar requesting he attend the January board meeting to discuss a breach of confidentiality the board says he committed.

The board made the decision after a 45-minute executive session. Ponikvar did not attend Monday’s meeting.



If Ponikvar does not attend the meeting, the board will consider his lack of attendance a resignation.

Ponikvar sent a letter to his fellow board members and Moffat County Commissioner Les Hampton in November about a discussion the board had during an executive session review of Library Director Donna Watkins.



Executive session discussions are confidential matters, according to state statute. The board’s bylaws state that a member can be removed from the board for breaching confidentiality.

Only library board member Jeff Foster voted against the motion because he disagreed with considering Ponikvar’s nonattendance a resignation. Board Chairman Dave Longwell abstained from the vote. In five years as board chairman, he has voted only once to break a tie.

Longwell said he was surprised that Ponikvar didn’t attend the meeting.

Ponikvar wrote in the letter that during the board’s November meeting, Booker “confirmed what I already knew; that you and Donna Watkins have been canvassing the community together, encouraging people to attend the board meetings in an effort to intimidate and coerce the board …”

During an emergency meeting in December, Hampton cited the letter as evidence that Booker wasn’t serving with the best interest of Moffat County in mind, and he motioned to remove her.

The commissioners have postponed the discussion about removing Booker from the board until a study of employee turnover at the library is completed.

The library board recently signed a contract with Public Sector Personnel Consultants of Arizona to conduct a survey of library employees and board members during the past 10 years. After receiving the list of former employees, Public Sector plans to complete the survey in 60 days.

By that time, Hampton’s term as a commissioner will be completed.


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