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Disappointment expressed at first Indianapolis library board meeting since CEO naming controversy

indianapolis public library meeting
Posted at 11:50 PM, Dec 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-19 23:52:34-05

INDIANAPOLIS — A loud crowd of more than 50 people filled a room at the Indianapolis Public Library Monday night.

It was the first board meeting since the board voted to offer the open CEO position to Gabriel Morley, who later declined the job offer. The vote was not unanimous.

Many at the meeting say the board's decision to choose Morley over former interim CEO and founding director of the Center for Black Literature & Culture (CBLC) Nichelle Hayes was due to racism.

"You have decided to arbitrarily and capriciously change the rules to undermine yet again the value of a Black woman in our community," Brandon Cosby said during the meeting.

Many people feel the board members aren't being transparent about why Hayes isn't being hired.

"This board cannot even explain to the community why they chose who they chose nor will they explain after Morley declined the offer why an offer has no been extended to Nichelle Hayes," Stephen Lane, who organized a petition, said.

WRTV's Meredith Hackler spoke to board president Judge Jose D. Salinas.

Meredith: "Do you guys not feel that Nichelle Hayes is qualified for the job?"
Judge Salinas: "Well I can only say the she did not have the support of the board."
Meredith: "Was there any specific reasoning as to why she didn't have the support of the board? Was it her qualifications or anything like that?"
Judge Salinas: "I can't go into the specifics. "

meredith and salinas
WRTV's Meredith Hackler speaks to IndyPL Board President Jose Salinas.

Salinas says his decision was not based on racism, but rather information.

The library plans to open up a new CEO search in January. Previous candidates, including Hayes, are allowed to re-submit their candidacy.