The Hopkins County-Madisonville Library Board acknowledges that a recent policy decision violated the state Open Meetings law. The board recently voted at a special meeting to rescind their major-gifts policy which had required the transfer of donations in excess of $5,000 to the Library Foundation.
Hopkins County Attorney Todd P'Pool said the Madisonville Public Library board didn't follow procedures when hiring contractors to renovate a library building, but board members acted in good faith.
Library Foundation members are criticizing the renovation and associated costs and using the violation to force the resignation of board member Bill Smith. State code outlines that a publicly funded entity must publicly solicit competitive bidding for projects with components that exceed $20,000. The library broad didn't solicit bids for the projects. P’Pool said the problems are technical in nature rather than criminal.
The future of a new Madisonville-Hopkins County Library is still uncertain as negotiations continue between the Library Board and the Library Foundation. The board’s working to renovate a building to move out of its current location in the Parkway Plaza Mall. Last week the foundation sent a letter to the board saying it would not co-sign a bank loan for $250,000 unless certain conditions were met. One of those conditions asks for finance committee chair Bill Smith to step down from his position. The board responded to the foundation’s letter with a counteroffer, taking out the provision on Smith. Library Foundation attorney Will Cox said they will consider the new offer. He said the project is being mismanaged and lacks transparency.
The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office says the Hopkins County-Madisonville Public Library board subverted the Open Records Act by not producing renovation project documents requested two months ago by a local newspaper.
A historic restoration group is determining whether or not it can renovate two downtown Madisonville buildings that used to serve as the county's library. Members from the non-profit group, The Kentucky Trust for Historic Preservation inspected the buildings yesterday to see if they would be good candidates for renovation. Madisonville/Hopkins County Library board member Gigi Kesterson Smith says if the trust decides to preserve the buildings, it takes the property off the library’s hands.