The Muscogee County Library Board is only four weeks away from selecting its top choice to become director of the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries.
Board chairwoman Meridith Jarrell announced during Thursday's meeting that the search committee has narrowed the field of about 40 applicants to three. She also outlined the rest of the selection process.
The board will interview the finalists May 9 in 40-minute closed sessions starting at 2:45 p.m. Then the public will be able to meet the finalists at a reception in the Columbus Public Library from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
The finalists will make a public presentation at the reception. Residents will be able question the finalists and fill out opinion forms to help the search committee and board decided the top choice.
On May 10, the finalists will meet the library staff, tour the area and have a final interview with the search committee.
The search committee is scheduled to recommend its top choice by May 23, when the board will vote on that recommendation.
Board member Frank Star asked Jarrell about the search committee's assessment of the finalists. Jarrell said all three can do the job.
"If we didn't think we could hire these people," she said, "we wouldn't have asked for them to come."
After the meeting, Jarrell said the search committee interviewed four applicants via Skype.
Library consultant June Garcia of Denver is guiding the search committee for $25,000 in fees and expenses. Reached by phone in Colorado, Garcia said each finalist has the requisite experience and enthusiasm.
"I certainly got the feeling that they are interested in this job, not just any job," Garcia said. "There are lots of jobs open now, so that speaks very well for the community. The area is attractive to them, and the library is attractive to them."
Garcia also praised the board and search committee for including the public in the selection.
"It's a commitment to the community," she said. "This is a very important position, and they welcome the input."
The board's leadership has known since late December that Claudya Muller was going to end her directorship of more than 11 years on Feb. 28.
According to the most recent data available, Muller's salary was $150,628, plus $3,339 for travel, in the past fiscal year (July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012). That is the second-highest salary in the Muscogee County School District. Susan Andrews, the last full-time superintendent in Muscogee County, cost the district $190,713 in salary and $9,144 in travel before she left last summer. MCSD owns and operates the county's public libraries.
Wanda Edwards has been serving as interim library director. She is head of the popular materials and circulation departments.MEET THE FINALISTS
What: Reception for the three finalists to become director of the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries.
Who: Free and open to the public.
When: May 9, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Where: Columbus Public Library, Synovus/CB&T Meeting Room.
Why: Chance for residents to meet the finalists, ask them questions and fill out an opinion form to help the selection committee and board decide the top choice.
Lyn Anderson, Chattahoochee Valley Libraries chief financial officer
Silvia Bunn, Mildred L. Terry Branch Library manager
Alice Budge, Muscogee County Friends of Libraries vice president
Abbie Dillard, Chattahoochee Valley Libraries Board chairwoman
M.A. Dowdell, Muscogee County Library Board member
Wanda Edwards, Chattahoochee Valley Libraries interim director
Linda Hyles, Chattahoochee Valley Libraries funding coordinator
Meridith Jarrell, Muscogee County Library Board chairwoman
Carole Rutland, former Muscogee County Library Board member