Michigan Director Hired Two Years after Predecessor Fired

Michigan Director Hired Two Years after Predecessor Fired

After two years without a director, Bay County (Mich.) Library System has appointed Thomas H. Birch Jr. to the position, effective July 21. Birch’s appointment comes some six months after voters approved an operating-millage renewal that was 2/10ths of a mill less than two 1.2-mill levies that were defeated in 2006. “We’re feeling very good about moving ahead on a whole variety of things,” board Chairman Don Carlyon told American Libraries.

Former director Frederick J. Paffhausen, was fired in March 2006 after two years there, and four months later filed a lawsuit claiming breach of contract, violation of his civil rights, and harm to his reputation. The library’s court filing responded that Paffhausen was terminated for not working on the subsequently defeated library millage renewal, as well as for using profanity, intimidating employees, and bringing firearms to work, the Bay City Times reported April 29. The $1.3-million lawsuit was settled out of court June 5, although terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Birch was reference librarian and managing librarian at the system’s Bay City branch from 1999–2005. Since then, he has been head of Zauel Memorial Library in Saginaw, Michigan, according to the June 26 Times.

Among the imminent system improvements are the restoration of bookmobile service for the first time since the operating-levy millage expired some 18 months earlier, as well as the installation of Wi-Fi at two branches. “As of the first of the year, we were able to provide many of the services we had before” the loss of operating funds, Carlyon said.

Posted on June 30, 2008. Updated on July 2, 2008. Discuss.