Jacksonville Director Retires Amid Growing Controversy

Jacksonville Director Retires Amid Growing Controversy

After nearly seven years of service, Jacksonville (Fla.) Public Library Director Ken Sivulich announced his retirement February 12, immediately vacating the office and recommending that the library board appoint Deputy Director Carolyn Williams, who has been with the system for 23 years, as interim director.

Sivulich said in the February 13 Jacksonville Florida Times-Union that Steve Rosenbloom, who took over as board chairman July 1, issued an ultimatum that he retire or risk being fired, citing Sivulich’s management style as one of the reasons for the request. “I made a decision that I was not going to spend the second half of my chairmanship trying to mend fences between the director and the administration,” Rosenbloom told the Times-Union.

Sivulich’s retirement comes a month after Mayor John Peyton ordered a hiring freeze on all library management and top-level positions as a result of a 2003 study that questioned library spending.

Sivulich will receive his full salary through April 30. In May, he is expected to begin a seven-month position as city consultant to spearhead the completion of a new main library, six branches, and the renovation and expansion of 12 other branches announced October 2003 as part of the Better Jacksonville Plan.

Posted February 20, 2004.