Resident calls for resignations as board has been ‘conspicuously silent’ during strike

Bradford Today
Letter to the Editor
September 20, 2023

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Throughout the entirety of the library workers’ strike, there have been statements in the press from CUPE 905, individual library workers, students, community members, Mayor James Leduc, and library CEO Matthew Corbett.

However, one group has remained conspicuously silent: the library board as a collective. This makes one wonder what work the board has been doing to navigate us through this unprecedented labour unrest.

After a little digging, one can find that, although the CEO has published many “labour relations updates,” there is no public record of the board meeting to discuss labour relations since April 27, two months before the library closed its doors. To my knowledge, public members of the board haven’t even been attending the meetings of town council to hear for themselves the impact statements being delivered during open forum.

The town’s website states, “The BWG Public Library board is an independent body appointed by council under authority granted by the Public Libraries Act and its regulations. The library board is responsible for the provision of a free public library service that reflects the unique needs of the community.”

By being absent when their community needs them the most, the library board has failed to uphold their duty to provide a “library service that reflects the needs of the community.” Furthermore, the board has let its authority as an “independent body” be usurped by Mayor Leduc. This is unacceptable. There is a reason why the board is empowered to be an independent body. Part of its duties are to negotiate with its workers and present that agreement, as part of its overall budget, to town council for approval. It is not the role of the mayor to dictate the terms of the workers’ agreement to the board. Yet, the board has stood silently by and allowed this to happen.

Therefore, I hereby call on the entirety of the library board to follow the example set by former board member and former Friends of the Library liaison Dillon McDowell and step down. After a total failure to perform their duties and uphold the integrity of the library board, it is the responsible thing to do.

Michael Walsh