Lafayette Library Board Fires Director in Executive Session, Ends Up in Lawsuit
LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL News) - The Lafayette Parish Library Board has made headlines again, this time after firing the parish library director after going into executive session. That then led to the board facing a lawsuit.
The board met on Monday evening to discuss the job that Director Danny Gillane had been doing. The board went into executive session, and board president Robert Judge asked the board to fire Gillane for undermining them. Not every board member was in attendance, but there were enough votes present to go through with it.
According to The Acadiana Advocate, Gillane was "blindsided" by the firing.
Gillane told The Acadiana Advocate he was informed by President Robert Judge that the library board, during an executive session to discuss his annual evaluation, voted to fire him.
Gillane said he was not in the executive session. When the board came out of executive session, he said, Judge told him the board felt he had done a good job with library finances and with staff.
But, he added, Judge told him the board feels he was undermining them and that he was no longer employed by the library system.
When he asked Judge if he could be allowed to resign instead, Gillane said Judge told him no.
Gillane has been employed with the Lafayette Parish library for about 15 years and was appointed library director in June 2021 after having served as interim director since February 2021. He replaced Teresa Elberson who abruptly retired in January 2021 after months of conflict with some board members, according to The Advocate.
Gillane, however, appears to be pushing back against his firing and is now asking a judge to vacate it.
The petition also asks 15th Judicial District Judge Michelle Billeaud to invalidate any vote that may be taken at a special library board meeting Thursday to ratify the vote taken Monday.
Attorney Gary McGoffin filed the petition Thursday morning on behalf of former Library Director Danny Gillane, who initiated the retirement process the day after the library board apparently voted illegally to fire him. By retiring, Gillane hopes to retain access to accrued sick days and health benefits through Lafayette Consolidated Government.
The board has called a meeting for Thursday to appoint an interim director in the meantime.
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