BradfordToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected]. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter is in response to an article in regard to talks between the library and the union.
As the former chair of the Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library board and a member of the library board for the past three terms, I was extremely disappointed in the recent article in BradfordToday by reporter Rob Paul.
Last term, the BWG Public Library board consisted of three councillors, as well as six residents who volunteered several hours every month to ensure the library strategic plans and policies strive to provide the highest possible level of service to the community. The reporter and BradfordToday have presented an article that is unfairly slanted. Further, I find that the quotes from the union president have impugned the integrity and reputations of these citizens on the board and the CEO and have undermined the contributions they have made to the community.
Below is some context that the reporter did not provide.
Many of the quotes in this article from the union president can only be presented as her opinion, not as fact. BWGPL CEO Matthew Corbett’s comments are reflective of the discrete nature of the discussions while the negotiations are still in process. He cannot speak to specifics and as a result, cannot refute any of the union president’s accusations. The new library board is barely a month into their new mandate and would not have the ability to provide context in this case.
I believe much of what the union president is quoted as saying is meant to inflame. She stated that the CEO and previous board did not act in good faith. Calling out the timeline in this manner is a bullying tactic which, to me, reflects a lack of good faith and professionalism on the union president's part. If there was no intent to reach an agreement, why have there been 10 meetings so far, with more scheduled?
The library board follows the regulations outlined in the Public Libraries Act, not the Municipal Act. It is not appropriate or reasonable to compare what happens at council meetings to how business is conducted at library board meetings.
As for the library strategic service review, specific positions, individuals, job classifications or salary ranges are described in this document and it is proper that it be presented at an in-camera session and not in open forum to the public.
I can, however, as previous chair and resident of BWG, also point to all the accomplishments of the previous library board and staff, including the CEO, this past term (during a pandemic!) and set the record straight here. I am proud of the work that we did as team for the people of Bradford West Gwillimbury: a review of all services, an equity and anti-racism audit, the elimination of barriers like late fines and programming fees, the investment of nearly a million dollars into reserves and yes, positively addressing the beginning of the staff unionisation process.