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by Amira Malcom
Editor’s note: This statement was given by an IndyPL worker at the April 24th Board meeting and speaks as to why the community should sign the petition to call for a vote of no confidence for the following board members: Tribble, Biederman, White and Palacio. You can sign your name and share the petition here!
Good Evening. My name is Amira Malcom, and I am currently the project manager for the Center for Black Literature and Culture at Central. As some of you can probably guess, Nichelle Hayes is my direct manager. Because of that, most recently I served as the manger of the CBLC while Nichelle took the helm as interim CEO.
I have a few comments for the board before I get into my remarks. First to Hope Tribble, who should be ashamed of the outright disdain and disrespect she has shown our librarians and community members while this board had the gall tried to play in our faces about not selecting Nichelle M. Hayes to be CEO. To Dr. Payne, congratulations on your recent lifetime achievement award. I also want to take a moment to acknowledge Greg Hill, who sent out one of as many emails I can count on one hand to staff since he took this role this morning. He and I know better than most anyone in this room that when Nichelle M. Hayes excels in a role (as is her habit) it takes at least two people to replace her. Of course, I’m not getting paid $190,000 but that’s neither here nor there. I am here however, on the topic of compensation of a different sort. As I mentioned earlier, I served as the primary manager of the CBLC for a number of months while Nichelle served as CEO. During this time, I recieved no formal managerial training, and prior to that was denied funding for training that would have set me apart from a pool of applicants to another management position I applied for at the Library. IndyPL is supposed to be a place for lifelong learning for everyone, but staff cannot say the same.
In addition to my role in the CBLC, I am also a full time student. I study library information science and philanthropic studies at IUPUI. Since I joined the staff here, compensation for tution was promised to staff who meet grade requirements for approved courses. After the announcement of library funded tuition as opposed to reimbursement was presented in Nichelle’s powerful public address, no communications to the contrary were sent out. According to our CFO after I reached out regarding the previous reimbursement plan “this is something simple to resolve” regarding deferred billing with IUPUI. In an email I received exactly one week ago from Lolita Campbell, I was abruptly told with less than a month left in the semester that there were not funds available to cover my school costs because “we did not budget for the possible increase of the expenses due to staff may want to take advantage of the new policy.
Unfortunately, this will not cover your current expenses please accept my apology for the inconvenience. It is a process to revise a policy. Stay tune for the rollout of the policy soon.” This came as a shock after previously hearing from (HR Director) Tisha Galarce that “we haven’t run out of funds in a very long time so I do not think we will have problems in paying it when you complete.” regarding a course I was attempting to hold funds for December of last year and a previous resolution posed to this board to increase funding for tuition reimbursement.
To not expect staff to utilize their education benefits is absolutely unhinged behavior from a public learning institution such as this, and to not prioritize staff enrichment is a very telling show of how much the Library actually values its staff. We can’t “stay tuned” any longer while the library we represent is raked across the coals. The lack of clear communication from this executive team is not only confusing and disappointing, but also leaves me on the hook for approximately $6000 of money that I for the record cannot provide without significant hardship before I can register for my next term of classes. Sidebar – If anyone is interested in helping to fund my education, my venmo is @mkat6472.
To Lolita, I accept apologies in cash. And to this board, I won’t accept the embarrassment you’ve made of this library system. Please do better. Resign if you must, but let us move forward with a competent leader that we trust. And in case you haven’t heard, that leader is Nichelle M. Hayes!
Support Library workers and sign the petition HERE. Watch the video testimony below.