Live Oak libraries payroll processor, HR director officially ter - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Live Oak libraries payroll processor, HR director officially terminated at special meeting

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

A special-called meeting was held Tuesday at Southwest Chatham Library to address the scathing reports, and what's next for the Live Oak Public Library System.

We first brought you the findings of the independent audit of the human resources department for the library system last week. In the report, employees are quoted saying HR Department Director Jim Stroud intimidated employees, made fun of disabled people and swept issues brought to him under the rug.

We reached out to Stroud following that report, and he rejected the claims. A financial audit made allegations that the library's human resources department had mismanaged payroll, even used shredded personal employee documents as stuffing in gift baskets.

"To the Board of Trustees, I think they should very carefully consider the findings of these reports and should take steps to address handling their Human Resources Department in a much more professional manner,” said GA Public Library Service State Librarian Julie Walker.

In front of the Board of Trustees and a full room, a mixture of concerned citizens and current and former employees of Live Oak Public Libraries getting a chance to speak their minds.

"I ask that the staff not get thrown under the bus, and I ask that this not turn into a train wreck,” said Ivan Cohen, a library patron.

According to the audits, some library employees reported feeling like they were part of a hostile work environment. Some also saying they felt discriminated against by management.

"Mr. Schaefer, Mr. Broughton, they came...they listened. No one lied. People just, they told what has been happening for many years. If it didn't happen to you, you would never understand,” said Tia Johnson, speaking on behalf of employees.

State Librarian Julie Walker had this to say to the board.

"It's clear that there was a great effort made to keep the trustees, in many cases in the dark, regarding the finances and other issues in the library system, as well as the Georgia Public Library Service. But now that these things have seen the light of day, it's incumbent upon all of us to act on this knowledge,” said Walker.

Board members convened for an executive session to do just that, act on the audit information, and they came up with this solution.

"Based on the recommendation of the report, I move that Scott Pool and Jim Stroud be terminated,” said Chatham County Live Oak Public Trustee Dean Horstman.

With the majority vote, Live Oak Public Library payroll processor Scott Pool and Human Resources Director Jim Stroud were ousted.

Board Chair Rev. Douglas Harn had this to say to the library systems employees and public following the decision.

"I would like for them to know that this is an unfortunate situation that has arisen in our system, and we're doing the best we can to correct the system,” said Rev. Harn.

Harn says the board will use the audit firm's recommendations piece-by-piece as they move forward to correct the issues.

The Board of Trustees also voted to move forward with an external search to replace interim Library Director Jason Broughton.

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