Library Board President Susan Robertson said, in a statement released late Monday afternoon, she accepted the decision with regret. She said Frank had told the board from the beginning that — while he hoped to conclude his career in Grand Haven — he did not rule out the possibility that he would take a more desirable opportunity if it was presented to him.
“We understood that he had taken a substantial reduction in salary compared to his previous post,” Robertson said, “but we were willing to take the chance of having someone of his caliber available in our community. We wish him well.”
Frank had previously worked as senior director of library services for the Knox County Public Library System in Knoxville, Tenn. The Library Journal reported that his salary in Knoxville was $122,000. Frank confirmed that job was a political appointment and he had left when it became clear that a new administration was “wishing to create their own cabinet.”
The Loutit board hired him in late February and he started work at the Grand Haven library on April 11. His salary as Loutit District Library director was $62,917, the top of the board’s advertised pay scale for the job.
Frank replaced longtime library director Sandie Knes, who had abruptly retired in October 2010. Assistant Library Director Kerry FitzGerald was acting director until
Frank joined the Loutit staff last week. FitzGerald confirmed today she again is acting director until a new director is in place. She said she would not be vying for the job.
“I’m perfectly happy where I’m at and the board knows that,” she said.
Earlier this year, Frank told the Tribune he accepted the job for both personal and professional reasons.
“I think the Loutit District Library directorship offers an exciting opportunity to take a library to another level of creativity — in a setting that offers beautiful scenery, one of the more attractive beaches in the country and a resort area that is arts-oriented,” he said. “As an artist and writer, the lifestyle is appealing.”
FitzGerald said the library staff had fun brainstorming with Frank during the week he was in town. She said they came up with several ideas for improvements, which they will explore.
“We wish him all the best,” FitzGerald said.
Robertson said the board has scheduled a special meeting at the library for 6:30 tonight to review and approve the job description, duties and authority of the library’s director, and discuss how to proceed with selection of a new director.
“We interviewed several excellent candidates and we will review our options,” Robertson said.
FitzGerald said the agenda for tonight’s meeting has an item saying the board will consider extending a job offer to one of the other two leading candidates for the position: John Martin, a former Grand Haven resident who currently is library director in Oak Park; or Rose Frost, a candidate from Wisconsin.