LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)–The Lafayette Public Library Board of Control is back in the spotlight. On Thursday, the board voted on an interim library director to take over for Danny Gillane, who they fired Monday.
It was announced at the meeting that Gillane’s firing was rescinded and he was allowed to resign.
The controversial move to fire Gillane came with pushback, as Gillane’s attorney filed a lawsuit Thursday morning. The petition asks a 15th Judicial District judge to invalidate the vote to fire Gillane. The reason, the petition says, is because the vote was taken in executive session, which is a violation of the Louisiana open meetings law.
The Board of Control, however, is already moving forward with replacing him, voting on an interim library director at Thursday night’s special meeting.
“I’m truly embarrassed to sit on this board because of how it operates,” Lafayette Public Library Board of Control Vice President James Thomas said.
Thomas said almost half of the board members weren’t at the meeting Monday when the board voted to fire now former library director Danny Gillane.
“Of course, I had to find out like many of you, through rumors and the news, and I’m the vice president of this board,” Thomas said.
He said he was shocked to hear Gillane was terminated and had nothing but good things to say about him and his work in the library. Thomas now questions if anyone would want the job.
“I’m not sure who would ever want to be the director of the library,” Thomas said to the crowd.
Many Lafayette residents spoke up in public comment, blaming Board of Control President Robert Judge.
“Our organization is going to call for the resignation of Mr. Judge or for the parish council to remove him as board president,” Lynette Mejia with Lafayette Citizens Against Censorship said. “He has plunged our library system, our library board into utter chaos.”
Judge refused to answer any questions News 10 asked regarding Gillane’s termination and the calls for his resignation, only responding with, “No comment.”
The Board of Control chose to appoint a Sarah Monroe, the former assistant library director, to become the interim library director. She will take over for the next six months and will receive Gillane’s former salary in full. Monroe said it’s bittersweet.
“This is something I’ve always aspired to, and I’ve enjoyed having Danny as a mentor,” Monroe told News 10. “I’ve been with the Lafayette Public Library for 10 years now, and I was hoping this would be a position I held one day. It was never something I wanted to hold in this matter.”
Monroe said she does believe Gillane was treated unfairly by the board. News 10 asked her if she’s worried she could face the same fate.
“I think anyone would be worried about it, but we have a good team. I’m looking forward to building relations with our board and paving a new path forward,” Monroe added.
Monroe said one of her main priorities is moving forward with Gillane’s plans to build the Northeast Regional Library. Gillane was not at Thursday’s special meeting.