Pike County Times
The Pike County Times, PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295. You can donate through PayPal at the link on the bottom of the page. Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor(@)pikecountytimes.com
Welcome to Pike County Times.com

This online news website is owned and operated by Becky Watts. If you enjoy reading Pike County Times, consider buying an advertisement for your business or sending a donation to support the only free online newspaper in Pike County. Donations can be sent to: The Pike County Times, PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295. Click here to donate through PayPal. Thanks for supporting Pike County's only free online newspaper!


Looms and other items from Hobby Lobby for the circulating bags.

One of the two tables for the STEAMroom.

Laminating will be a breeze!

This microfilm reader will soon be replaced.
Notes from the June 13, 2019 Library Board Meeting
By Editor Becky Watts

ZEBULON - The J. Joel Edwards Public Library Board of Trustees met on Thursday, June 13, 2019. There were a couple of missing members, but there was a quorum. In attendance were Anthony Vinson, Treasurer Curtis Ward, Library Manager Rosemary Bunn, Flint River Regional Library System (FRRLS) Director Natalie Marshall, Vice Chair Gillian Appleton, Joy Walker, and Patsy Page. Anthony took the minutes for the meeting because the previous secretary, Rhonda Morgan, resigned after the last meeting. [Note from the Editor: I have the upmost respect for anyone who takes down minutes by hand on paper because it takes a whole lot longer to do that simply type as I do now. I used to do that 20 years ago when I started and can still do that now but would rather type any day of the week!]


At the beginning, Vice Chair Gillian Appleson (who was running the meeting in the absence of the Chair who had sent an email earlier in the day advising that she couldn’t be there due to health issues] asked the board to make some changes to how the meeting would be conducted. She asked each member to state their full name when speaking so the meeting could be documented accurately. She also asked that the secretary write down motion and read it before each vote and then state vote afterward for the record. Consensus of the board to do this. [Note from the Editor: This ensures that the secretary can write down events without looking up if needed and that the tape of the meeting can be used to easily verify the minutes when the secretary is writing them up if that is needed.]


Quorum of 5. The attendance of 4 was required—and the is important since Curtis had to leave early.


Vice Chair Gillian Appleton said that it was brought to attention that board member requested a line item that was not added. What do we do if something is omitted that was requested. FRRLS Director Natalie Marshall said that typically you don’t want to add something on the fly because it is not full transparency, but if something was left off it could be added because it has been omitted.

Joy Walker advised that she requested an amendment to the agenda that was emailed to Audrey on June 9 and asked that a discussion of Board Elected be put on the agenda. Board members listened to her request, and Anthony said she needed to be more specific. So she said that she wanted to add a Discussion about Elected Board Positions and How to Unelect a Board Member. Anthony said that this is in Robert’s Rules of Order (RRO) and the bylaws and could be held by discussion without being added to the agenda. So then she said that she wanted to add to the agenda something about being able to unelect someone from a board position. He reiterated that there is a procedure to do this from RRO and recommended that the board do this and it was up to the acting chair so Joy said that she would like to speak about this then. Anthony said that she could make a unanimous consent request instead [Note from the Editor: You can hear me on the tape asking what that is because I’ve been attending county and state convention meetings for twenty plus years and never heard that term.] and Anthony was asked by Gillian to enlighten everyone because no one else had heard of it either. He said that this is a method by which a member may ask for time to ask for a discussion without a motion so the agenda would not have to be amended for this discussion as long as the Chair was in agreement. Natalie read this from the RRO book that she brought with her. The unanimous consent request needs to be unanimously agreed on by everyone in attendance and the chair will allow the discussion like an extension of time when someone is speaking. Anthony argued that this would go along with making a brief statement. The difference is that it would have to be agreed upon unanimously where an amendment to the agenda only requires a majority vote. He reiterated that so far there has been no valid motion for an amendment to the agenda but that he would be happy to amend the agenda if he would give her a motion that valid.

Joy asked to amend the agenda for a discussion about Unelecting the Chairman of the Library Board. He asked for what cause and Gillian stopped that by saying that would come up in the discussion. In favor: Joy Walker, Patsy Page. Abstain: Curtis Ward, Gillian Appleton. No: Anthony Vinson. Discussion that when Chairman Briar Johnson was at the meeting, he said that abstentions count as a yes. So she said that based on that—and asked to be corrected if she was wrong—a 2-1 vote with 2 abstentions would allow this discussion be placed on the agenda. Where to put it? Under new business, item B.

Motion to approve the agenda. Yes by all but Gillian who advised that she would be abstaining from all votes unless her vote was needed to break a tie. Approved 4-0-1.

[Note from the Editor: This was painful to listen to and probably even worse to have to sit on a board and endure. I have to say once again that I have never attended a county meeting where RRO was used so rigidly. I’ve seen it used at a state political convention to try to shut people down, but not on a county level. Hear my frustration as I say once again that it should not be this hard to conduct a meeting for a county library board! At this point on my tape, I am only 10 minutes into an almost 2 hour meeting.]


Gillian said that it was very kind of Rhonda to type these up. Discussion on whether any changes were needed. Gillian advised that she and Rhonda both abstained on these final votes so Gillian asked to move that the minutes reflect 5-0-2 would be final vote on the final motions from the last meeting. Motion to approve. Approved 4-0-1.

Rosemary asked for a change in the incident report in her Manager’s Report from the last meeting. She clarified that the discussion (CORRECTION ADDED 6.17.19: Not a telephone call as I previously reported) she mentioned was not a domestic conversation. She said that it was business because it was from the President of the Friends of the Library rather than from her husband as reflected in the minutes and that she specifically said that the discussion was from the President of the Friends of the Library and that she did not present him as her husband to the board. Motion to strike the words “her husband” and replace with “President of Friends of the Library” in the May meeting in first and third paragraphs. Approved 4-0-1 Appleton abstaining. [Note from the Editor: I listened to the tape of the meeting because her recollection of this is what I remembered, but I needed to be sure. She is correct. Though any member who attends library functions would know that Bobby is indeed Rosemary’s husband because he supports the library with his time at library functions as well as helping to raise money through Friends of the J. Joel Edwards Public Library.]

Any other changes? Motion to approve the minutes as amended. 4-0-1. Appleton abstained.


Natalie advised that the Governor signed the budget for the library with no amendments to the library.

Federal Library Museum Funding did not originally include this but the House Appropriations Committee recommended an increase that would include library services. She said that this is very promising, and that it means that your representatives see the importance of libraries.

Statewide digital books for kids’ initiative is ongoing. This is included in the state budget and set to launch in the fall. 15,000 digital books online for kids. More details as they are given.

She said that Rhonda asked permission to summarize what she said in the last meeting and she gave her permission. However, she reiterated once again in the meeting her previous statement strongly suggesting a bylaws revision adoption for this board to go to quarterly meetings. [Note from the Editor: The Bylaws were revised several meetings ago and a Memorandum of Understanding was brought before the board from the Board of Commissioners but neither document has officially been added to the agenda so there could be a vote by this board. Natalie advised that this meant that the old bylaws were still in effect.

CORRECTION ADDED 6.17.19: The Memorandum of Understanding was passed in March of 2019 according to the minutes, and looking back, I do remember them actually passing though a note was still sent to the county to ask for a change to the name on the document to reflect the actual name rather than having "of Pike County" on the end of it. I apologize for not looking back at that before I made the statement to be sure. However, the Bylaws haven't been passed anywhere that I can find. We need some follow through on this because those are important.]

Click here to read the Separation of Duties List that Natalie gave to each of the members at the May meeting.


Employee update

Library Manager Rosemary Bunn said that a new employee quit and did not even give notice and advised that the library is short-staffed. The county has put out an ad for the job opening. She asked for and has received permission for temporary full-time hours for a part-time person to increase coverage. We are busy every day with programs except Fridays.

Incident Report

Maintenance guy was working and grabbed a bucket of water to put out a fire. Someone used one of the flower pots for an ash tray and set a flower pot on fire. She said that she is going to retire them because they are plastic and haven’t grown anything in a long time.

She said that she found a car hidden in back corner with a male and a female in it when she came in one morning. She called the Sheriff’s Office. It looked like they had dumped their ashes back in the back of the building after being there all night. By the time a deputy could respond they were gone, but the deputy was given the license plate number and advised that there have been reports of these people doing the same thing in other places in the county.

A meeting was called with county officials involving County Attorney Rob Morton, County Manager Bobby Bickley and County Commission Chairman Briar Johnson and Rosemary. She said that the board as a whole had not been advised of the meeting and that Chair Audrey Lanier had asked for this meeting. Rosemary called FRRLS Director Natalie Marshall for advice on how to handle this, and Natalie called the State Librarian Julie Walker for advice. Consensus that this was not a meeting that should take place without board knowledge and discussion. This was scheduled for yesterday morning. Bobby cancelled this meeting.

[Note from the Editor: Pike County Times asked for any Open Records concerning the Library Board, Library Board members, etc. and received an email pertaining to the phone call from Audrey Lanier who did indeed ask for this meeting between the county attorney Rob Morton, county manager Bobby Bickley, chairman of the county commission Briar Johnson, and Library Manager Rosemary Bunn. According to the May 30, 2019 email, Bobby advised Briar and Rob that Audrey felt like she was personally attacked in a public setting by Rosemary because Rosemary told the board about a phone call made to Friends of the Library President Bobby Bunn by Audrey that turned into a heated, he said/she said discussion. Audrey felt like it was not an appropriate topic to be discussed during the incident portion of the library manager’s report because it did not occur on library property nor did it involve library personnel. The email advised that Audrey was seeking a meeting because she feels like she is owed an apology. He asked if everyone could meet on June 12 after the Board of Commissioner’s meeting. BUT... the Board didn't know this at the meeting...

I’m going to say some things here that are pretty blunt, but I don’t know how else to say them. First and foremost, if the county is not going to deal with the numerous problems that have been presented with the chair of this board (yes, I have complained in person as well as in blue in my meeting write ups since December of 2018 and laid out how she could be removed according to county ordinances) then those in authority need to take a stand and say no to a meeting like this. Why? Tax dollars are paying salaries for the county manager, county attorney, and library manager who would have to take time out of their busy days to handle an incident that occurred in a meeting where the chair felt she was owed an apology. Let me say that again: the chair felt like she was owed an apology from the library manager for something that happened in a library board meeting. The no could be as simple as asking if the entire library board has given written agreement for a meeting like this to take place. Just how much time has been taken to address the actual purchase of library bags by the Friends of the Library and any discussion pertaining to an apology based on the incident report that discussed the purchase of the bags for the library? I would bet that this time is measured in hours with an “s” rather than minutes, and I would bet that no other board in this county is engaging in this kind of behavior. Click here and read under Manager’s Report from May to read about the incident report and click here to read about the bags both in the meeting and the series of emails that occurred after the meeting by scrolling after the adjournment. I’m done beating a dead horse on this. I’ll be at my 9th monthly Library Board meeting in July where I hope to document not just the majority of the library board but the entire library board working together to support the library and the library manager’s efforts to make our library the best library around our area.]

Fund Balance Report

Rosemary thanked the board for releasing $30,500 for library use. She has spent over $26,000 and has sent in-depth monetary info to members. She hoped that the board would take a few moments to look at the STEAMroom because some of the items are already at the library. [Note from the Editor: Those who go to the library on a regular basis will notice a change in the Georgia Room as this STEAMroom continues to become a reality. Look in the window as you check out books in the adult section and catch a glimpse of what your library board and library manager are working together to provide for Pike County and library card holders from surrounding communities!] 3D printer and microfilm reader will come from the Griffin Library where they are currently being housed until there is a training session for these items. Rosemary advised that she bought a second cart for $150 when a smaller, similar cart would run $600 now. She also advised that she saved $1,300 on a first-time buyer, one time use coupon to buy needed secondary items for the STEAMroom. She said that she is trying to use funds wisely. She ordered lockers for the breakroom (so employees could lock up purses and personal items if needed) and asked for permission to move money between line items. Discussion of need to make a motion to allow Library Manager use discretion.

Motion that Rosemary adjust the three line items from May’s meeting as necessary to purchase the items but remain within the total amount designated for purchases. Approved unanimously with an abstention from Gillian.

Rosemary opened a musical bag to show what she is doing. Includes books and musical instruments. This will take a while to finish this out because everything in the bag (multiple items) will be catalogued as one item when this is done. She advised that she is working with a local organization to stock bags, and they asked for a patriotism bag. She is averaging about $100 a bag and this company has asked about sponsoring about 20 bags. [Note from the Editor: The musical bag pictured above had all kinds of books and interactive musical items including musical instruments. There will be a list of items in each bag that will be checked upon check out and check in so patrons can ensure that they receive and bring back everything in the bag.]

Consensus to look at the STEAMroom after the financial reports because Treasurer Curtis Ward has to leave early.

Budget Proposal

Curtis Ward went through this for the board. Discussion: We are closing in on the end of the fiscal year and having to track and separate this year and next year’s purchases. The budget proposal is fairly consistent with what we had this year. Rosemary talked with Janice about the adjustments in payroll. The amount is what we got from the county and the county determines pay scales. We were not made aware of the numbers from the previous county manager and those numbers are not the same numbers that the library had. Is this a final number? Concern with a $14,000 decrease from last year to this year’s budget. Rosemary asked for a letter in writing from the county that this is a temporary procedure to accommodate fund balance and the budget will be back to normal next year. Natalie said that maintenance of effort is required from the county period. Using the fund balance (the amount in the library checking account) is not an excuse for a county not to fund maintenance of effort. The state may or may not have a problem with this and will let us know at a later time if they have a problem with this. Gillian advised that the maintenance is expected to be equal to or more than what was given to the library last year. If this effort is not maintained, it would jeopardize PINES library access.

Question as Curtis prepared to leave whether this was going to affect the vote on Joy’s motion? No because there is still a quorum of 4 members. Curtis left at 5:23 p.m.

Rosemary said that she has been vocal that cannot run a library on $23,245 (not including the employee portion that the county is paying) for the upcoming year. She is going to over expenditures with Edmund to be sure that it doesn’t look like the library is going overbudget. A little over $8,000 short on the budget for the library. [Note from the Editor: I have been vocal on this too because the PINES library offers so many services to the county from computer training for employees to library patrons being able to access books, etc. from PINES libraries all over the state as well as online books, etc. I expect that if this becomes a problem, the county will deal with this and make it right by adding the additional amount to the library budget. For now, the library has kept part of its money to cover operating expenses for the library itself if needed. You can read more about this in the April meeting by clicking here.]

Summer reading has been a challenge because the library is short staffed. Over 200 kids have signed up for summer reading already. Consensus that this is good problem to have.

Motion to accept 2020 budget as proposed. 3-0-1. Appleton abstaining. [Note from the Editor: I am including a portion of a paragraph from my February write up verbatim on the budget where members discuss whether to go through the budget line by line again this year or give a consensus for Rosemary to show the budget on paper and that be attached to the minutes for future reference. This discussion can be read in its entirety in the February meeting writeup by clicking here. “…Gillian said that we’ve spent hours poring over the budget in the past and as long as we’ve asked for at least our operating budget for the year, let the chips fall where they may. It always ends up changing anyway. More discussion and a consensus that Rosemary should go over it but not go line by line. Need one more computer at the front desk, 3% raise, increase in request for summer reading. This looks almost identical to last year’s budget because a couple of contractual obligations have gone down. Audrey asked if a copy could be kept with the minutes.”]

Report is a quarterly report because a quarterly meeting for the region is coming up. She highlighting looking forward to expansion with STEAMroom and new program with circulating craft tools. Go to STEAMroom at 5:32 p.m.

Back in at 5:44.


3 Year Plan Discussion

Gillian suggested tabling this until the next meeting because Audrey was spearheading this. Motion to table until the next meeting. 3-0-1 with Appleton abstaining.



Discussion of Rhonda’s resignation. The comment was made that Audrey said that we have to accept a resignation and even though that may not be correct, the board is going to follow precedent. Motion to accept resignation. Approved 3-0-1.

Because the secretary has resigned, Anthony was asked to take minutes for today. Gillian asked Anthony if he would be agreeable to continuing being the interim secretary and taking the minutes until September when there will be annual elections.

Anthony said that there is some provision with electing a replacement. He asked that they do the research and follow proper protocol. Motion to have Anthony elected to finish out Rhonda’s term as secretary. Approved 3-0-1.

Unelecting Chairman of the Library Board

Joy made motion to unelect Audrey as chairman of the board. Patsy second.

Discussion: Joy gave the following reasons for her motion: 1) for actions without the board’s knowledge including going to the commissioners and county attorney and Rosemary yesterday [Note from the Editor: The Board did not know the reason for the meeting at that time.] 2) for constantly micromanaging the library 3) for delaying expenditures because the library manager was asked to produce the items that were seen in the STEAMroom in January but Rosemary was told by Audrey in February that she was not comfortable with you presenting this without Curtis being present. Joy thought it was disrespectful to Rosemary. 4) On several different occasions, Rosemary’s financial credibility was questioned, and she was accused of mishandling money. Slander is verbal and when it’s put down on paper it’s libel. This exposes us for liabilities and it has been proven that Rosemary has never mishandled a penny of library money. I think for these actions she has caused the library not to have any progressive actions taken for way too long. She has been a detrimental to the library board and the library, and Joy thinks she should step down as chair.

Patsy said that as individual board members can be sued individually for slander or libel. These incidents could have cost the library and the library system a lot of money.

Joy added that she feels badly about Audrey not being here to personally address this but she wasn’t at the last meeting either and it doesn’t need to go any further. [Note from the Editor: Joy tried to have this discussion at the end of the last meeting, but Audrey left early and Joy did not want to have the discussion without Audrey being there. You can read this at the end of the May meeting right before adjournment by clicking here.]

Gillian said that she was concerned about this being discussed in an open meeting. Natalie advised that the discussion doesn’t meet any criteria for executive session. Anthony can be heard agreeing on the tape. Gillian asked for the procedure that could be used to remove an officer.

Natalie researched this with Robert’s Rules of Order and the Library Bylaws to see what to do next. Article IV Authority, Section 7. Natalie read this aloud: “The officers shall be a chairman, a vice-chairman, a secretary and a treasurer, elected from among the appointed trustees. Nominations will be made from the floor at the September meeting. An officer is elected for a one-year term, and with the exception of the Chairman, may be elected to serve unlimited successive terms. The Chairman may not serve more than three consecutive terms in that office. The officers elected at the September meeting shall take office immediately and shall serve for one year or until successors are elected. The officers shall perform the duties prescribed by the By-Laws.” Robert’s Rules in brief says… Question 20: “How can we get rid of officers we don’t like before their term is up? It depends. If the bylaws just state a fixed term for the officer, such as “two years,” or if they say the officer serves for a specified term “and until [the officer's] successor is elected” (or words to that effect), then the group must use formal disciplinary proceedings, which involve the appointment of an investigating committee, preferral of charges by such a committee, and the conduct of a formal trial. The procedure is complex, and should be undertaken only after a careful review of Chapter XX of RONR.

On the other hand, if the bylaws state a term for the office but add “or until [the officer's] successor is elected,” or contain other wording explicitly indicating that the officer may be removed before the term expires, then the officer can be removed from office by a 2/3rd’s vote by a majority vote when previous notice has been given or by a vote of the majority of the entire membership any one which will suffice. A successor may thereafter be elected for the remainder of the term. Of course, if the bylaws themselves establish a process for removal from office then that procedure must be followed.” She stressed that the current draft of the bylaws and constitution says, “…or until successors are elected.” It was noted that current bylaws and constitution have never been voted on so they are not in effect, hence the reason that they went back and reviewed the previous version of the bylaws and constitution which also says “…or until successors are elected.” Both say “or.”

It was noted that it says 2/3rd’s of the board and not 2/3rds of the board present. Natalie cautioned the board and said that this is not something to be done with fraction of the board present at the moment. Joy asked if the bylaws were valid since the board was changed from a governing board to an advisory board. Natalie advised that this board was always an advisory board and that the previous bylaws are still valid. The previous bylaws had a mistake in them that said this was a governing board but there cannot be two governing boards so this has always been an advisory board and the rest of the bylaws should stand.

[Note from the Editor: According to what was read tonight, this needs to be advertised. IF the chair will put this on the agenda.] Natalie advised to go by the January 10, 2013 bylaws because the current draft bylaws have not been voted on. It needs to be updated because of the changes in the knowledge of status, but it [the old bylaws and constitutional document] is valid and still stands. She advised that the governing board has always been the regional library board.

It was pointed out that the chair’s term of office expires in August.

Anthony gave a rebuttal. He said that he joined this board in order to make a positive difference in the community and said that this being his 5th meeting, he is disgusted at the actions of this board. He said that there are procedures for what you are suggesting and said that appears to me that you have done nothing to research those procedures and instead have come in with a chip on your shoulder and an obvious vendetta against the chair person and made allegations without any proof or evidence. He then addressed some of the items that were stated. Actions without board knowledge and you talk about yesterday and you supposed what that meeting was about. He said that members didn’t know what that meeting was about. He asked what micromanaging means? Delaying expenditures for STEAM equipment… but maybe she had a reason. Did anyone ask her? Questioning Rosemary’s financial credibility... You said this was libelous and slanderous and that she should step down or you will remove her. Which is it?

He said that Natalie made an inspirational speech at the last minute at the last meeting, and he had hoped that the backbiting and bitterness was be behind us so we (the board) could get down to doing the work of the library. But apparently we (the board) are going to take a great deal of time to make an action against someone that is complex and you want that to happen just because you made a motion. He said that he thought that was reprehensible and that this was ridiculous. He said that we are here to serve Pike County and we are not doing a very good job of that.

Rosemary said that the chairman of the board of commissioners came to our meeting a few months ago and that is because the commissioners are tired of that kind of mismanagement from her. Anthony said that should have been addressed formally and that Briar didn’t say that when he came. She then said that this is the reason that Natalie spoke about the differences between the board’s job and Rosemary’s job. Rosemary said that she had a long discussion over the phone with the county manager this morning which included the fact that the finances of the library are fine, that she had not mishandled finances, and that the finances of the library are open and transparent. She said that the library has lost ground over the past two years and it’s because of the micromanaging. She said that the incident Joy referred to was slanderous because Audrey's words were it’s obvious that our finances are not being reported correctly and we need to turn this whole thing over to the county. Audrey has requested 7 years of bank statements and checks when all of this has been audited. [Note from the Editor: This incident happened in the January meeting and was hotly protested in the February meeting during the discussion of the minutes from the January meeting that said "Chairman Lanier went on record that her confidence is low on that our financial record presented to the board is not correct." Several members including the Treasurer took offense to that statement and pointed out the many overlaid procedures that insure that all money is spent according to its purpose in preparation for the yearly audit that came back clean just a few months ago.]

Anthony stressed there is a procedure in place to take care of this (unelecting the board chair) and it appears that no one has apparently researched that procedure and no one has apparently tried to carry out that procedure. He said that they are trying to circumvent it.

At this point, Gillian interrupted and said that she is concerned that this discussion is a public record. For today, we have looked at what Roberts’s Rules and the bylaws state and in order to make any kind of action, we need a vote of 2/3rds for the entire board and cannot entertain this today. So the board had to go back to the fact that there was a motion and a 2nd on the floor. Natalie had to research procedure on whether to postpone or rescind it.

While Natalie was researching this, Patsy said that some reprehensible things were said about her by the past secretary without the past secretary knowing what kind of research Patsy had done prior to joining the board. Anthony said that he didn’t think that was relevant to this conversation.

Joy said that she would be happy to postpone or withdraw her motion—whichever was appropriate.

Natalie read that the maker of the motion is allowed to withdraw or change the motion with unanimous consent from the members from RRO 11th edition page 295-298.

Joy moved to withdraw the motion. Patsy gave a second. 3-0-1 with Appleton abstaining.

Next meeting is July 11 at 4:30 p.m.

Motion to adjourn. 6:16 p.m.

To read about the November 8, 2018 meeting, click here.

To read about the December 13, 2018 meeting, click here.

To read about the January 10, 2019 meeting, click here.

To read about the February 14, 2019 meeting, click here.

To read about the March 1, 2019, 2019 meeting, click here.

To read about the April 11, 2019, 2019 meeting, click here.

To read about the May 9, 2019, 2019 meeting, click here.