Beleaguered Sacramento Director Announces Retirement

Beleaguered Sacramento Director Announces Retirement

Ending a seven-year tenure amid accusations of mismanagement, Sacramento (Calif.) Public Library Director Anne Marie Gold announced at a September 25 meeting of the library’s governing board that she would retire, effective December 1. A matter-of-fact library press release announcing the retirement made no mention of the controversy in which Gold has been embroiled, and the Sacramento Bee reported September 26 that Gold, 59, had told the board, “I’ve long planned to retire when I reached 60, and that’s around the corner for me.”

The controversy surrounding Gold’s tenure stemmed from an investigation into overpayments made to a subcontracting firm co-owned by a library staffer and his wife, leading to a grand jury investigation into how the board and the library administration handle supervision, communication, and accountability. A grand jury report charged both Gold and the board with mismanagement and suggested that Gold be replaced. In August, the board issued a response that essentially rejected most of the panel’s findings and ignored the termination recommendation, saying employee performance appraisals should not be discussed in a public document.

“As I prepare to leave, I do so with profound respect for this library and a belief that the future will be a shining one,” Gold stated in the library press release. “I’m proud of the team at the library and what everyone has accomplished. The Sacramento community has much to be proud of in its library.”

The press release itemized Gold’s successes, noting that SPL saw significant growth, including an increase in the number of branches from 24 to 26 and the remodeling and expansion of nine facilities. Double-digit increases in circulation, visitors, and programs also characterized her tenure, and in 2004 Gold helped lead a campaign that resulted in 72% of Sacramento voters approving the renewal of the special city tax that funds public library branches.

Gold’s departure, however, was applauded by the union that represents about 285 of the library’s workers, according to the Bee. “Patrons and employees need to feel confident that the leadership of the Sacramento Public Library has their best interests at heart and that taxpayer dollars are being wisely spent,” said Steve Crouch, business representative for Stationary Engineers Local 39, in a written statement. “Unfortunately, for the past five years this has not been the case.”

Gold plans to remain in the Sacramento area, the press release said, and the board is in the process of identifying an interim director, who will serve while a nationwide search is conducted for a successor.

Posted and modified on September 26, 2008. Discuss.