by Erin Place
BUCKFIELD — Zadoc Long Free Library Director Bonnie Santos has been fired, though details around the move remain sparse.
Buckfield Town Manager Cindy Dunn confirmed she terminated Santos on Saturday, Jan. 21. Santos, of West Minot, has served as library director since February 2014 and before that was employed as assistant director beginning in August 2010.
Dunn declined to comment on the firing of Santos.
While Selectmen Chairman Warren Wright and Selectman Mike Iveson also declined to comment about Santos’ firing, Selectman Maida DeMers-Dobson made a brief statement.
“Obviously, I think that’s unfortunate,” she said. “I think when you have somebody who has an education and has an excellent reputation with the state library system, it is a shame that things can’t be resolved internally.”
Deputy Library Director Katie Clukey is currently serving as interim director, according to Dunn.
Wright called an emergency meeting for Tuesday, Jan. 31, to meet with the town’s attorney, Jack Conway.
“The purpose of tonight’s Meeting is to meet with the Town’s Attorney to obtain legal opinion on only the process taken by the Town Manager to terminate an employee,” Dunn wrote in an email. “Saying that the employee terminated has not officially received notice because the reasons for termination will not be discussed only the process taken.”
In June 2015, voters at annual town meeting agreed to make the library a full-fledged town department as it has operated as a separate entity since it was founded in 1901. Voters also dissolved the library’s Board of Trustees and replaced it with an advisory Library Committee, with members from Buckfield, Sumner and Hartford – the three towns the library serves.
There have been ongoing issues with library operations since at least last fall. In September, Dunn met with Santos and Clukey and handed them an updated five-page library director job description and a four-page job description for the deputy director.
DeMers-Dobson wanted to go into executive session during an October 2016 meeting so Santos could discuss some of the issues she was having, but Dunn told her it did not qualify for executive session under state law. DeMers-Dobson has repeatedly expressed concern over the authority of the Library Committee and noted when the decision was made to form the committee, members’ roles were supposed to be advisory in nature.
“The goal, the mission, myself as town manager, Library Committee members, all of them, and library staff is to work as a team,” Dunn said at that same October meeting. “There are things that (we) want to be accomplished.”
Santos could not be reached for comment as of press time.