The Dixon School Board, in its capacity as the Dixon Library Board met in Special Session last night to discuss a proposal which many called an attempted “Coup” to steal the Dixon Library from the people of Dixon. After almost two hours of public comment and discussion by the Board, the idea was unanimously rejected – by both the entire crowd and the Board.
On Friday, February 21, 2014, California SB 1403 – a bill impacting the Dixon Library District – was introduced by Senator Lois Wolk, whose district includes Dixon and at the behest of Wolk’s Vacaville office head staff member Caitlin O’Halloran.
If passed, the bill was described as a “place-holder” by Wolk’s staff attending last night’s Board meeting. The bill proposed to change governance of the Dixon Library and create a new five-member Dixon Public Library Commission and give the Solano County Board of Supervisors authority to appoint the Initial members to serve until future elections are held.
Senator Wolk submitted the bill without first considering public input from the Dixon community.
Until last night, no Dixon Library Board meeting was ever held regarding it and the Dixon Library Board was apparently not consulted before it was submitted. In addition, no public meeting to obtain public opinion and input was ever held.
The proposal has been pushed by Dixon School Board member Caitlin O’Halloran, who became a School Board member by default last year when too few candidates filed for the position. She is also a top staff member for Senator Wolk, serving as head of Wolk’s field office in Vacaville.
Members of the public testified at two public hearings and on the record at prior Library Board
Meetings that the former Dixon Library Commission: (1) Repeatedly failed and refused to listen to or address numerous complaints from the public; (2) “Rubber-stamped” excessive spending by the former Library Director; (3) Repeatedly failed/refused to listen to issues raised by Library employees; (4) Mismanaged the Library’s finances; (5) Committed repeated Brown Act violations; and numerous other complaints.
Based on the public outcry, the Library Board (the School Board) voted to dissolve the Library Commission in 2012. Since then, the Library Board has also voted to eliminate the Library Commission as any sort of option for governance of the Dixon Library District.
Besides the SB 1403 improper attempt to restore to power the defunct and dysfunctional
Library Commission, it also contains other errors, including references to the City of “Banning” instead of Dixon in several places.
Public comments last night reiterate the numerous problems with the prior Commission.
The Library Board voted to table the issue, and to send a letter to Senator Wolk asking the bill be dropped.
The Library Board and public comments also all agreed the issue should be carefully reviewed and any changes requiring changes in state laws should be introduced only upon that review and only at the request of the Library Board.