Cullman Shirley Arnett Takes On Library Board: Over Phone Meeting Controversy

Cullman Shirley Arnett Takes On Library Board: Vinemont’s own Shirley Arnett is calling out the Cullman County Public Library Board, claiming they broke the Alabama Open Meetings Act. Why? Well, they let Brenda Scott join a meeting over the phone last month, and Arnett isn’t having it.

The Library Board thought they were in the clear, having revised their bylaws in September to allow electronic attendance. The idea was to let Scott, who had missed a few meetings due to health reasons, stay in the loop.

Arnett, who had her book challenges rejected by the board in October, says this move is against the law. She’s saying Scott’s virtual attendance is a no-go because the electronic meeting policy wasn’t in place for the required 45 days.

In an email to the board, Arnett argued that everything discussed in October should be thrown out, and Scott shouldn’t even be a board member anymore since she missed more than three meetings in a row before October.

Now, the board got wind of Arnett’s complaint, and guess what? They gave it a unanimous thumbs-up, sticking by everything they did in October. Rusty Turner, a board member, made it clear that even without Scott, they had enough folks physically present to make it legit.

Arnett’s not stopping there. She sent her complaint to the Cullman County Commission, who suggested she take it up with the Alabama Ethics Commission. She told The Times she’s likely going to pursue further action.

Meanwhile, the board did a 180 on a cease-and-desist letter they sent to a local non-profit group, Friends of the Public Libraries of Cullman County, back in January. This group has been raising over $100,000 in the past four years for various library projects and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program.

Board member Drew Green said the initial concern was a “lack of accountability,” but now they’re rescinding the letter and even thinking about working with the friends group to tackle salary concerns for the library director position. Communication snafu, anyone?

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