Elkins, Alessi spar

Story by Abby Siegel, News Editor, Lindsey Coleman, Staff writer and Paige Effinger, Contributing writer

At the Calloway County Public library board of Trustees meeting Wednesday, Ryan Alessi, former acting president and Library Board member, gave his “rebuttal” to the comments Judge Executive Larry Elkins made regarding board transparency and Alessi’s home residence that broke board policy.

Alessi said there were comments made at the fiscal court special session Feb. 2  that were out of context and facts were misrepresented – or, he said, “maybe it is a contagious outbreak of amnesia.”

“The most forgetful person in this county appears to be the Judge Executive,” Alessi said.

On multiple accounts, Alessi said he had mentioned moving out of state but would remain a property owner in Calloway County, including prior to the July fiscal court meeting. However, Elkins “must have forgotten this conversation.”

Alessi also commented on the information requests Elkins said he requested of the library. At the fiscal court meeting, Elkins said the Board failed to provide information he requested, yet Alessi said that wasn’t the case.

“When I was told basically if you want any information, you’re going to have to file an open records request, you might as well have gotten you a big red flag and waved it in my face,” Elkins said at the special session last week.

He continued and said he expects the community to respect his position as an elected official, regardless of their personal feelings about him as an individual.

“The reason that request was not answered by the library was because the library never received it,” Alessi said.

On Aug. 4, Elkins made an information request by email to Mignon Pittman, library director, but Elkins only sent it to one address – his own personal alternative email address.

“One of the things the new library can do is have that computer lab so we all can come in and use it,” Alessi said. “People who don’t have internet can have access, and we could all take classes. And the judge, I think, would get on board with that because that would help him learn how to use his own email.”

On Oct. 14, the Library Board received an Open Records Request from lawyer Chip Adams.

“I would think this all began because of an easy mistake – it happens – but maybe since the county taxpayers are now on the hook for all these lawyers, the judge might make a great gesture by spending some of his $95,263 salary to help defray the costs of the legal bills.”

Officer elections were tabled until the next meeting as no member wanted to step forward as board president at this time.

In order to pay for future expansion costs, board members met with community members who are experienced in the area of leading capital campaigns. The board plans to launch a campaign of their own in the near future.

Catherine Lanier, board trustee, said the board feels confident in the insight in Murray to make the capital campaign launch a success. She said many people were willing to help in the process.

“Right now we’re really looking at how we go about creating a capital campaign. It involves a feasibility of what money is out there, who are we competing with, who else is asking for money, what kind of niches does the library have that they can target,” Lanier said.

Senate Bill 48, which would have changed the way library board members could be appointed, was removed from the agenda in Frankfort.

The next regular library board meeting is scheduled for 4:30 p.m., March 8 at the Calloway County Public Library meeting room.