UPDATE: Library Board President Could Keep Position
After Mayor Jeff Scrima asks board president to "exit as a gentleman," he agrees to allow president to remain on the board for a year. Common Council to vote Tuesday night on last month's delayed appointments.
Updated, Noon Tuesday: Mayor Jeff Scrima said Tuesday morning that he will re-appoint Paul Kasprowicz for a year at the request of Alderman Andy Reiland. The Common Council will take up the appointments tonight.
Original: Last month, unexpectedly and with little warning, long-time Waukesha Public Library Board of Trustees President Paul Kasprowicz was passed over by Mayor Jeff Scrima for reappointment to the library board.
Two days before the meeting at which the council was to approve the mayor’s library board appointments, Kasprowicz received a call from Ald. John Kalblinger asking him if he knew that the mayor was going to appoint someone else to the board.
Kasprowicz, a local attornery and CPA who has served on the board for the past 12 years and the last six as president, was surprised and at a loss to understand why he wasn’t being recommended for reappointment.
After Kasprowicz spoke during public comments at the council meeting and with the mayor out of town and unable to answer questions about the issue, the council voted to delay appointments to the board until the mayor’s return.
Since that time, with appointments to the library board on hold and according to advice he received from the city attorney’s office, Kasprowicz has continued to act as president on the library board.
This past week, after informing the council of recent library board elections in which he was once again elected by the board as president, Kasprowicz received a chiding email from the mayor stating that he knew it wasn’t the mayor’s intention to reappoint him to the board and that this was due to “concerns” over his behavior:
“Unfortunately, this is due to the concerns that multiple people have brought to me in confidence during the last two years regarding your behavior,” the email states.
The mayor has not yet responded to Patch’s questions regarding the library board appointments or an open records request about the appointments.
Kasprowicz said that the mayor’s allegations about concerns have come as a surprise, especially in light of his length of service and success on the board.
“All these times, I’ve been reappointed and re-elected without any controversy or concerns,” he said.
During his term as president of the board, the library was named Wisconsin Library of the Year by the Wisconsin Library Association; two major renovations were completed; and just recently, the library recruited and hired a new director, all in part due to his leadership on the board, Kasprowicz said.
Additionally, Kasprowicz said he has been with the mayor “many times” over the past year at meeting, public and private events and he never said anything about concerns about his behavior.
Even more baffling in light of the alleged “concerns” was what the mayor said to him when they met last.
The mayor asked him if he would be interested in serving on other, more prestigious boards, Kasprowicz said.
“So there’s a contradiction between what he wrote and what he said to me,” Kasprowicz said.
The email also says:
“In addition, after citizens have served for many years on the same board as you have, it is only natural that they retire and allow other citizens the opportunity to serve.
Once again, thank you for your many years of service to the library board. The library is in good hands with the other board members, professional staff, and friends of the library.”
And concludes with:
“We trust that you will exit as a gentleman. Thank you!”
Recent show of support
Kasprowicz is gratified by the recent show of support from library board members. At last week’s library board meeting he was re-elected as president with only one member, Elaine Spelius, voting against his appointment even though the board knew his re-appointment was up in the air.
“I hope that connotes respect for my Waukesha Public Library Board behavior.
“I’ve always been a gentleman and those who’ve known me for the past 50 years can attest to that,” Kasprowicz said.
When asked why he wants to continue on the library board, Kasprowicz said that he loves doing it and is proud of the work he has done on the board on behalf of the library.
"I would love to do it again," he said.
Upcoming council meeting
Once again on the agenda for Tuesday’s council meeting are appointments to the library board. At tomorrow’s meeting, Mayor Carol Lombardi and Waukesha attorney Ness Flores are being recommended for appointment. Last month, the recommended mayoral appointees were Lombardi and Renee Ramirez.
Current board make-up
Currently, the Library Board has 10 members, including Kasprowicz. It had 11 members but one resigned this past year and is no longer serving.
The board currently includes Kasprowicz, Vice President Steve Schultz; Secretary, Member-at-Large Jeff Fowle; Common Council Representative Andy Reiland; School Superintendent’s Designee Cynthia Gannon; and Members-at-Large Cynthia Deatrick, Paul Rempe, Chris Reuter, Elaine Spelius and Rose Sura.
According to library board bylaws, the board “shall include up to eleven members, nine of whom shall be appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the Common Council. Up to two additional members may be appointed according to 1991-1992 Wisconsin Statutes 43.60 (3).”
Two of the library board members are county board appointees, Schultz and Reuter; and Gannon is an appointed by the Waukesha school superintendent.