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The Cairo City Council and Grady County Commission voted unanimously this week to approve a plan to expand the Board of Trustees of Roddenbery Memorial Library from three members to seven.
Library board chairman Thomas L. Lehman presented the proposal to the city council and county commission this week. The existing agreement was adopted in 1944 and Lehman said an expanded board is necessary to increase the diversity of the board and to provide additional voices in the management of the public library.
Only the Grady County Board of Education is left to approve the plan.
Under the agreement, each governing body will appoint two members to the expanded board. The library trustees will recommend a candidate for the seventh position and all three entities must approve the recommendation for it to be approved.
Trustees will have staggered terms and the length of terms is reduced from five years to three years. “We were having a tough time getting people to hang around five years,” Lehman said.
However, Lehman has been committed to the library having served 20 years on the board of trustees. He said when his term expires in December he will be leaving the board for good.
Lehman has volunteered to chair a fundraising campaign to address programming and material needs of the library.
“I hope nothing will have to be done to the library facility for at least 10-12 years. We think we’ve got it in pretty good shape,” Lehman said.
The trustee invested a $470,000 gift from a local couple growing the fund to $550,000 that was combined with $2 million in state funding to modernize the library. The facility has a completely new roof, windows, heating & air, LED lighting, insulation and fresh paint.
Lehman encouraged city and county officials to consider who their appointments would be. The library board chairman is hoping to have the first meeting of the new trustees by the end of the year for an orientation session.
In addition to Lehman, the current trustees are Howard Thrower III, and Sherry Moncrief.
Lehman will present the proposed agreement to the school board next month.