It’s Time for Gilbert to Shred the IGA with Maricopa County Library District!

It is very disturbing to learn in the Arizona Republic that Maricopa County has taken it upon themselves to install armed guards at both libraries. This show of lethal force was made against the judgment of Gilbert’s Community Services Director Norman and Police Chief Dorn (Council Communication #25, June 23, 2011). Also Maricopa County did this in the absence of a contract. The IGA (Intergovernmental Agreement) expired on July 1, 2011.

The IGA will probably be on the Council’s Agenda for the 7/25/2011 Study Session and 7/28/2011 Meeting.

So, without Council approval and without contractual authority, the County took the drastic action to install armed guards, and to close the South East Regional Library on Sundays.

Here is a link to the Arizona Republic July 15 article:

It has become obvious that Maricopa County has mismanaged the operation of the library and has failed in its contractual obligation to inform Gilbert’s Town Staff of the alleged security issues that have occurred over the last year.

Even though both Andrew Chanse, the former branch manager, and his supervisor Harry Courtright, library district director, were fully aware of the alleged security problems that have occurred since June 2010, at no time did they initiate any “communication” with Gilbert’s Town Staff regarding those issues.

I use the word "alleged," because neither of these County employees thought these events were worth mentioning to Gilbert Town Staff for 11 months.

On May 3 2011, a Gilbert citizen "happened" to spot a Facebook entry on Mr. Chanse’s Facebook page detailing assaults upon himself and a library staff member. This citizen (not Mr. Chanse or his supervisor) alerted Jim Norman.

And then, it was Jim Norman who initiated action on 5/4/2011 by contacting Harry Courtright and asking for further information. Not having a record of these incidents, Mr. Courtright contacted Mr. Chanse to supply them.

Mr. Chanse had not bothered to keep a record either and had to cobble together the “serious security issues” from memory. The “report” was produced and sent to Mr. Norman on 5/10. Mr. Chanse’s report begins, "I’m sure there is more, but this is what we came up with off the top of our heads.”

Off the top of our heads????

Mr.Chanse came before the Council on June 9, 2011 to alert the Council about the issues, and demand swift action “on behalf of the safety of your children.”

Yet, on his watch, he allowed “our “ children, the library staff, and Gilbert patrons to be at risk of harm for 12 months?

In his presentation to the Town Council on June 9, Andrew Chanse also misrepresented the number of lost/stolen DVD’s. He stated there were "4,000 missing since July 2010 that we know of," and he went on to say that they cost $35 each to replace.

Mr. Chanse’s professional estimate was slightly off….by 3850 DVD’s. Jim Norman researched and discovered there were more like 150 DVD’s missing.

A DVD costs $35 to replace? I guess if it’s Maricopa County doing the "handling," then this is what you can expect.

Gilbert pays 100% of the costs toward library operations and owns all of the inventory, the building, and the land underneath the library.

Gilbert taxpayers pay $3,235,420 per year for the care and feeding of its two libraries, under the management of the Maricopa County Library District. This is for 2,685,940 items that are checked out. That’s over $1.20 per item.

Here is the link to the AZ Republic article relating to costs:

If the Library has problems, those problems are due to the incompetence of the Maricopa County Library District over the last 5 years.

It seems that it is time to terminate, tear up, and shred the IGA with the Maricopa County Library District as quickly as possible, and take control of both libraries.

Be sure to congratulate Mr. Chanse on his recent promotion, by the way.