Search for full-time Metro library director to move into 2012

Monday, November 7, 2011 at 2:48pm

The Metro Nashville Public Library Board is unlikely to hire a full-time director until early 2012, the chair of the board’s search committee told The City Paper Monday.

“It’s probably going to be after the first of the year until we actually have candidates to interview,” board member Keith Simmons said, adding that it could be May before a new director is actually hired.

Donna Nicely, director of Nashville’s public library system since 1995, retired from the position effective Nov. 1. Tricia Bengel, the library’s emerging technologies administrator, has been serving as interim director.

The board hired a search-consulting firm in September to assist in a national search for a full-time replacement.

“They’ve been engaged in calling people across the country,” Simmons said. “We’re trying to cast our net as broadly as we can to get somebody really good to replace somebody really good.

“It just takes time,” he said. “We had hoped to have a decision made by Thanksgiving. I think the search is going well, but it just takes time to contact people and get the word out. We’re not going to try to push it.”

Simmons estimated five people have applied for the job so far, but said several more have inquired informally: “It’s really too early to put a number on any of that right now.”

Simmons said interviews with candidates could begin in “mid- or late-January.” The hiring process would unfold from there.

12 Comments on this post:

By: Kosh III on 11/8/11 at 7:21

"The board hired a search-consulting firm in September to assist in a national search for a full-time replacement."

Whose buddy is this consultant? Who's getting a kick back for using it?

Why do we waste thousands, even hundreds of thousands on this dog-and-pony show for certain positions? We surely have plenty of capable folks already working for the Library. Going outside is insulting to the current employees: telling them that they are not competent enough.

Metro has a personnel dept. Let IT do the search/interview/hiring.

By: bfra on 11/8/11 at 12:19

As long a Karl is mayor, all consultants & hires for top offices will be from out of State, as this is all he has ever promoted. He doesn't give "his" depts. much credit for intelligence!

By: ladyday1 on 11/8/11 at 1:52

Take a look at Metro Parks and Recreation Department.
The Director they(the Board) hired was going to be their choice from the beginning but they went through some kind of changeless charade for three months. They had one more person in the department apply but he or she probably knew the chance of getting the job was nil.
For three months people hoped that they would hire someone from outside their ranks. A person who would have knowledge to protect our parks as his main objective.
Does Metro not have a hire or retire policy? Where can that information be found?

This is our city every person should get more involved in the decisions it's Boards make. Not having to be elected they make their own rules. Sometime they go by them sometime they don't. We can watch a Board Meeting on Channel 3. All except the Park Board. their meetings are not there anymore. You can get a minute or two on the news station.
Our Mayor, Vice Mayor and every Councilperson has a duty to every citizen not just special interest groups.

By: slinkyd on 11/9/11 at 8:47

All of you are wrong. There are no "kickbacks" because Metro isn't paying for the consulting firm, as I understand it. Ladyday1, who was hoping they'd hire someone outside of the department? The did a national search for the last director, who came from Texas, and he was a DISASTER.

bfra, I can name at least 4 department heads that have been named under Dean's administration that were already within Metro (Police, Parks, Legal, Human Resources). This is probably in response to the national hires we got before like Serpas, Garcia, and Roy Wilson. With that being said, the Library Foundation is footing the bill for the search and they have tremendous say because they pay for a lot of the Library's enhancements. I have no problem with that because taxpayers probably shouldn't pay for everything the library wants to do, and there are people who value the library and are willing to donate for speakers, resources, upgrades, etc. God bless them for doing so.

Donna Nicely did amazing work during her tenure and brought the library a long way to where it is now. I think it makes sense to bring in someone new that can build on her success but that is far enough removed from her "regime" to have fresh ideas of how other library systems work. I hope they have as much good fortune as they did when they found Mrs. Nicely.

By: bfra on 11/9/11 at 8:51

4 out of how many? Were they hired before or after an out of state firm had researched the field?

By: slinkyd on 11/9/11 at 10:35

Well, I honestly can't think of more than a couple other departments who have had to replace directors under this administration, other than those who are elected. The Arts Commission has a new director but there was not a national search for that. The Clerk was hired but it was limited to candidates who live in Davidson County by the Charter. Keith Durbin was a Council Member when he took over ITS. State Fair, maybe? And that wasn't a national search, either. All of those hires were local. The only one I can think of with a national search is Schools, and the School Board has a lot of say in that process. Also, he came from Memphis. Can you list any examples of when he's hired anyone to be a director from out of state? Just wondering what basis you had for that statement.

By: slinkyd on 11/9/11 at 10:37

Correction: I think Register was from Chattanooga, not Memphis. Still in state, though.

By: bfra on 11/9/11 at 10:58

There have been enough "out of state" companies paid big $$$$ about the Fairground issues. Everything about the Karl white elephant MCC was for consultants and cos. from "out of state", including most of the subs & workers. The school board had better, right under the nose, as Register keeps proving every day. Oh and that British co. hired for $$$$ for support or something and the Florida co. for the internet.

By: slinkyd on 11/9/11 at 11:23

That is different from your original accusation. When it comes to department directors, he has stayed close to home, is my point. He would get criticized either way, I'm sure.

By: bfra on 11/9/11 at 12:42

The criticism is well deserved! But then slinky, I am not a suck up for Karl as some are!

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