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Geneva Library director switching back to assistant director post

Updated: February 25, 2014 6:33AM

GENEVA — Library District Board members Wednesday called Matt Teske’s resignation as Geneva Public Library director and rehiring as assistant director a “win-win” for Teske, the district and library patrons.

“Matt has served us superlatively as director, and as assistant director before that,” asserted Trustee Steven Andersson. “He has a lot of talent, and I don’t want us to lose that.”

Teske submitted his resignation Wednesday because he is undergoing treatment for depression and anxiety, he explained in a letter to the board. He spent six weeks on medical leave last fall and resumed working full time Jan. 2.

“I have made huge inroads in dealing with these issues and am in a much better position emotionally today than I was in early November,” he stated in the letter. “I have come to the conclusion that the position of library director is not a good fit for me right now.”

He went on to write that he would accept the assistant director position if the board offered it to him. The current assistant director, Peggy Carlson, is scheduled to retire June 27.

“I believe my experience would allow me to step into this position and make a strong, dynamic contribution to the operations of the library,” Teske said. “I think my strengths will shine better in that setting. I’ve realized that I enjoy all aspects of library work, and being assistant director gives me more opportunities to be involved in all of them.”

Instead of making Teske wait until Carlson retires to step into her shoes, the board voted to hire him as assistant director effective Jan. 27, when he steps down as director. He and Carlson will both serve as assistants to incoming interim library director Marilyn Boria, who will work 15 hours per week until the district hires a permanent director. Boria has served as interim director at the Sugar Grove and Carol Stream libraries since retiring after 27 years as director of the Elmhurst Public Library.

“With launching a search for a new director and having a part-time interim director, it will be very beneficial to have continuity in library management,” said Trustee Bob Shiffler.

Trustee Susan Shivers voted against rehiring Teske immediately because she said it contradicted Carlson’s job description and would result in unbudgeted expenditures.

“The need for two assistant directors and an interim director has not been demonstrated to me,” she stated. “One of the duties of the assistant director is to serve as acting director if the director steps down. Upon Matt’s resignation, Peggy should have been named acting director until a new director was hired. Now we’ve introduced a new layer of management bulk that’s not in our budget.”

Trustee Pat Lord countered that, since Boria will be paid $60 per hour for 15 hours per week without benefits, the district will spend less on her and two assistant directors than it was spending on Teske’s and Carlson’s full-time salaries. Shiffler added that the board could save about $17,000 by conducting its own director search instead of hiring an outside recruiting firm.

Andersson declared that retaining Teske’s services would be worth a temporary payroll increase.

“This is not just about dollars and cents. It’s about talent,” he said. “To ask Matt to be unemployed for five months and then hope to get a job with us in June is not realistic. He probably would have moved on by then, and we’d lose him entirely.”

Since joining the library in 2006, Teske has been involved in creating the adult summer reading program, the annual ice cream social and remodeling the Youth Services Department, as well as overseeing the library’s schedule, staffing and budgeting.

“I’ve tried to be wise about spending, but I’m also trying to keep this building a good and effective space for patrons to use,” he said.

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