Snow Throws Down in Library Dispute

From the “Oh, No, I Know You Didn’t Just Say That” files comes Brandon Shulleeta’s article about Supervisor Duane Snow’s threat against the Jefferson Madison Regional Library:

If they can’t find 5 percent from each [library] system to reduce hours, to buy less books and keep all the libraries open and they’re insisting on closing one or two libraries, I would be in favor of not giving them any money — until they got those things figured out.

Yes, that’s right: if the library system closes the lowest-trafficked Albemarle branch to cope with Albemarle cutting their funding, Duane Snow wants to simply eliminate all of the county funding to the library system.

An explanation is in order here. JMRL is an intergovernmental organization, their existence premised on funding from four municipalities, with a Board of Trustees that governs the organization. The services provided to each municipality are a function of the extent to which they contribute to the JMRL budget. The Board of Trustees is made up of representatives who are appointed by each municipality. (In the brief time in which I served on the JMRL board, for instance, I was appointed by City Council.) There are three members appointed by the Albemarle Board of Supervisors: Gary Grant, Timothy Tolson, and Tony Townsend. These are the three signatories to the JMRL board letter to the county in which they explain why they’ll need to close the Scottsville branch, which, in brief, is because there’s nothing else that they can cut.

Functionally, what Snow is saying here is that he wants to bypass the board of trustees and manage JMRL directly and, if they won’t permit that, he’ll shut down the library system. Unless the rest of the BoS reins in Snow, then I wouldn’t dare guess how this standoff ends.

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