Mediation request made in library dispute

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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With the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library (JMCPL) and the Wapiti Regional Library failing to resolve a governance dispute on their own, it’s time for mediation.

John M. Cuelenaere Public Library 

With the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library (JMCPL) and the Wapiti Regional Library failing to resolve a governance dispute on their own, it’s time for mediation.

Although a communication breakdown has taken place between the two organizations, JMCPL board chair Ted Zurakowski said that he’s optimistic mediation will help.

“I really feel good about the work we’ve done,” he said, noting that they have a PowerPoint presentation, charts, and their points clearly laid out and ready for discussion.

“We’re prepared. We feel very comfortable going into mediation with this.”

At issue between the two organizations is a long list of items, including alleged transparency issues on the part of the Wapiti Regional Library, governance disconnect between the two and the JMCPL’s overarching desire to be treated differently than other regional libraries that operate under the Wapiti banner.

“We’re large enough that we want to handle some things by ourselves,” JMCPL director Alex Juorio said.

“We’d like to take the JMCPL out of the ‘70s, and thanks to the hard work of the staff we’re getting there, but Wapiti is holding us back,” Zurakowski said.

A letter was sent this week to the Ministry of Education, where mediation funds are available.

“We’re hoping for a response in the next couple weeks,” Zurakowski said.

The funding should allow for between one and two days’ mediation, after which Zurakowski said he’s hopeful a resolve will have been found.

“It became clear that the Wapiti senior administration and chair were just unable to move in a meaningful way to resolve the issues,” he said. “Perhaps a mediator — a neutral party — may be meaningful.”

“Until we get down and get the laundry out, there’s not much to report,” Juorio said.

The partnership between Wapiti and the JMCPL worked at one time, so why not again? Zurakowski asked.

The dispute has been long-standing between the two organizations.

Phone messages left at the Wapiti Regional Library’s main line, library director John Murray’s direct line, and to Wapiti Regional Library chair Maureen McGirr’s home line were not returned on Wednesday.

The Herald will follow this story as it develops, with continued effort made at including a Wapiti Regional Library point of view. 

Organizations: John M. Cuelenaere Public Library, Wapiti Regional Library, JMCPL board PowerPoint Ministry of Education The Herald

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