High Plains Library District officials will ask a Weld District Court judge today to stop a handful of Weld County communities from unseating the library district’s board of trustees.
The complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief comes on the same day the last founding member of the district — the town of Eaton — is set to vote on a resolution that removes the seven board members and appoints new ones.
Weld County commissioners, Fort Lupton, the Fort Lupton Re-8 School District Board of Education, Hudson and Ault have all passed similar resolutions.
Greeley officials, who are the final founding members of the library district, have said they will not participate in the process, citing concerns that those communities are acting illegally.
The complaint, filed on behalf of five High Plains trustee members, will be heard by Weld District Judge Julie Hoskins at 9:30 a.m.
It names all Weld County commissioners, the mayors of Ault, Fort Lupton, Eaton and Hudson, and the president of Fort Lupton Schools as defendants.
The complaint contends those communities violated state law by trying to change the High Plains bylaws, which they do not have authority to do, by failing to include Greeley and Evans, a community initially included in talks of forming the library district, in the removal process, and by failing to define the “good cause” for which the trustees are being removed.
The outcome of the hearing could settle what some say has been years of discontent from member libraries — libraries with their own boards and autonomy over their budgets — with High Plains administration’s “strong arm” tactics to get them to adopt the same practices as the rest of the libraries served by the district.
The complaint, filed by the law firms Otis & Peters in Greeley and the Godsey Law Office in Eaton, also outlines issues with the nomination process last week, in which those communities nominated their respective mayors and a member of the Fort Lupton school board to serve as the new trustees.
Some residents have said they worry town mayors and the other new board members won’t have the expertise to govern a library district, while others say they are concerned that branch libraries — libraries not served through the founding communities, but directly through the district — won’t have enough representation.
Weld County Commissioner Bill Garcia said at a meeting with the Greeley City Council on Wednesday he is similarly concerned about getting someone on the new board to represent branch libraries.
Greeley Mayor Tom Norton was nominated to serve on the new board, but declined due to the council’s concerns about the legality of his involvement.
Greeley and Evans are named as interested parties in the complaint, so Norton on Wednesday said he would wait to hear the result of the request for injunction before deciding how to participate.