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August 2023

Board of Control Meeting

Agenda HERE

Proposed Bylaws Changes HERE

June Minutes HERE

Financial Report HERE

Speaker Forms HERE. (Fill out a form for each item you wish to speak on. Forms will also be available at the meeting)


Post-Post Meeting Analysis

Speaking from the (seemingly) distant shores of September, the final two weeks of August were a cascading spiral of Robert Judge's out-of-control behavior. For two and a half years now, the people of Lafayette parish, and those who use and love the library system in particular, have endured this unending siege of chaos brought about by a man who retaliates based on the whims of his fragile ego.

You can get a sense of the events that followed August's board of control meeting by reading through the news reports collected at the bottom of this page. The short version is this - LCG attorneys realized quickly that Judge had not followed Louisiana open meetings laws shortly after Danny Gillane's attorneys realized the same. Danny filed suit, not because he wanted his job back, but because when the board came out of executive session to inform him he was fired, he asked if he could be allowed to resign instead so that he could keep the benefits he's accrued over thirty years in service to the system and Judge snidely said, "No."

Needless to say, with a lawsuit breathing down their necks, LCG forced Judge to call a second  meeting, during which he sat completely unrepentant during public comment and the board voted to allow Danny to resign with full benefits.

Meanwhile the Parish Council had ordered Judge to call a special meeting to purchase the land for the Northeast Library. That's still not happening until September 11. Delay, delay, delay.

Finally, we'd had enough. We've called for his resignation before. We've asked the parish council nicely to remove him before, based on the attacks he's continued to instigate against the library. Now we've started a petition so that the citizens of Lafayette and the surrounding area, the people who actually use this library system, can have their say. So far we've already received over 500 signatures and climbing. We plan to present the petition to the parish council at their meeting on September 5th, and ask them to remove Robert Judge from the board of control at their September 19th meeting. He CANNOT be allowed to continue on.

Post Meeting Analysis

Well that escalated quickly.

Not sure where to even start. Should I begin with - our Director has been summarily fired, or should I lead with Robert Judge voted down building the Northeast library AGAIN?

We'll begin with the fact that only FOUR board members found the meeting important enough to attend, even though this was a big vote for the NE library, and community members nearly filled the room. (Robert Judge, Daniel Kelly, Erasto Padron, & Ella Arsement were the members present). Three of the four who were there have been appointed in the last year, and since the project has dragged on for nearly 5 years at this point, you'd think they would have had extensive briefing to bring them up to speed on the history of where we are, what sites have been considered, the scope of the project, funding, etc...right? 

Yeah, no.

The new board members remain in the dark about nearly all the history attached to this project, as well as the most basic rules of parliamentary procedure. The member (Daniel Kelly) who did finally make a motion to proceed with purchasing land for the new library seemed unsure how to do so. And this wasn't even the worst part.

NE is now in the hands of the Parish Council

After a lengthy discussion during which Arsement wondered if we could somehow also build a community center along with a library (we can't) and asked about rumors she'd heard about someone building a library in another part of town (there isn't), we finally got around to public comment. Community members from Move the Mindset, 100 Black Men, this organization, and even a sitting City Council member spoke about how much this library means to the community.  It was clear that the stakeholders had, once again, rallied around this much-needed resource, and clear that it was time to vote to move the project forward.

Instead, we were treated to a 15-minute non-sensical lecture on...chemistry. Yes, Mr. Judge thought this would be a great time to pull out his long-winded analogy on atomic structure and data analysis, insisting that we somehow needed more "data" in order to justify building this library. (Even though the board cancelled the contract years ago which would have given us the data he claims he now needs). He read out statistics from the pandemic years stating that check-outs are down and e-check-outs are up, citing this as justification for the need for a lease instead of a brick-and-mortar library. He lectured us on the fact that governmental entities must be good stewards of tax money, and as part of that due diligence he must find the best way to spend the library's budget money. Of course, there was no talk of limiting hours or of shuttering any of the libraries in white neighborhoods in order to "be better stewards." This discussion only ever surfaces when talk of opening a library in the African American community comes up. He seemed unable to comprehend that the mood in the room, even among his fellow board members, had chilled considerably as he spoke.

Ella Arsement asked Director Danny Gillane if she thought the NE library was needed, based on his experience. He said as Director, he couldn't really answer, but personally, he thought the answer was yes.


Judge then offered up an amendment - remember, to "save" money - which would have called for leasing a 5,000 sq foot facility in ADDITION to the land purchase, in order to "test" usage and get the data he was looking for. 

He didn't even get a second on his motion.

This made him angry. Robert Judge is a petulant child when he's angry.

When the four board voted for the original motion a few minutes later, Judge voted no, (the vote was 3-1, but with only 4 members present, they needed all 4 to vote yes) thereby killing the motion and the opportunity the board had to build goodwill and move the project forward.

We were disappointed and disgusted, but not terribly surprised. It was par for the course for Judge, and we were thinking that the next day, Tuesday, Danny would go before the Parish Council (who hold the actual power, as they ultimately will authorize the purchase of the land and the construction), where we would see the project move forward anyway.


Judge then called for the Executive Session to discuss Danny's yearly evaluation, which was on the agenda. It was late, and no one expected any surprises, as the board has always expressed delight in Danny's performance. But then.

The Board Fires Director Danny Gillane

Turns out Judge was a lot angrier than we'd initially thought. Citing Danny's "undermining" of the board, Judge marched right into the Executive Session and started calling for Danny's head. We don't know how the vote went, since it was illegally conducted inside the Executive Session, but when all was said and done the result was that Judge got his way. Danny is gone. Supposedly when Judge made the announcement, Danny asked if he could please at least be allowed to retire, and Judge told him no. 

I could say something here about not negotiating with terrorists. You don't win with these people. Doing their bidding is not going to get your any brownie points.

More on this as it develops.

Agenda Items

Northeast Library

Even though it isn't the first thing on the agenda, it's arguably the most important, as a library for the Northeast part of Lafayette Parish has been NECESSARY for the residents and UNNECESSARILY delayed for years. Because we finally have a confluence of favorable factors: the money (which has been sitting there waiting for years), a location (many have been considered, but we actually have several affordable properties in good locations available right now), and politicians motivated by an impending election (October 14th), we may actually see movement. Unfortunately, since board President Robert Judge wasn't fully on board with team "elect Josh Carlson" earlier in the summer (or didn't get the memo), he was still publicly spouting the nonsense about leasing space for the new library instead of buying property earlier this summer.  My fear is that the board and politicians will make lots of noise now about how much they're "ready" to build the library in order to get the votes, only to once again abandon the project to languish once October 14th has come and gone. I want to see signatures on contracts; boots on the ground, shovels in dirt, ribbons cut before then.


So what needs to happen?

  1. 1) The board of control needs to vote to move the project forward. Pick a piece of property and authorize LCG to purchase it, already. In theory the Parish Council doesn't need the board's "permission," and they've said they will do this anyway, but again...politicians. It would be nice to have the board's vote asking them to do so.

  2. 2) On Tuesday night. the Parish Council is hauling the library Director in front of their meeting to "answer" questions about the status of the project. I put that in quotes because they damn well know exactly what the status is already - they all talk to one another behind closed doors of course - this is a dog and pony show to satisfy people who continue to complain. But hey, whatever. There is nothing on the PC agenda stating they will take any action at this meeting - just a "discussion" during which the library Director answers their questions. Might they be spurred to put it on a future agenda if the board has voted to move forward with a land purchase? It couldn't hurt.

So what do we need to do?

Show up, in crowds. Speak up, if you can. Tell them how important the Northeast Library is to our community - not only the NE, but to ALL of us, because we ALL value libraries and what they give to all of us. A rising tide lifts all boats.


In case you missed it, last spring Michael Lunsford got pissed because the Mayor-President's Board of Control appointee, Marquise Watson, had the radical idea to make the new tiered cards proposed by Judge and Armbruster OPT-IN, meaning they weren't FORCED onto parents. He got so pissed that he immediately went and whined to Josh Carlson. He also did some digging, and discovered that our board membership is out of sync with other library boards in the state, which are appointed by parish councils. BOOM! Suddenly, OUT OF THE BLUE, Josh Carlson decides our Board of Control membership needs to be brought in line with state law! This has nothing to do with Marquise Watson's vote! This is a total coincidence!

Turns out our Home Rule Charter does allow a mayor-president appointee, but whatever. We do what we want to get what we want, amirite?

Anyway, the Parish Council adopted PC Ordinance 034-2023 back in June. The board plans to adjust their bylaws to reflect the membership to be in line with those changes.

What can we do?

Not much, to be honest. This just another example of Parish Council and Board of Control collusion, of the far right not getting their way and so changing the rules in order to do so. That's ok, though. We're definitely keeping score.

Open book is on fire, pages are engulfed in flames. Concept of censorship, prohibition of

August's Censorship News

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