Library candidate declines Lexington job

jcheves@herald-leader.comFebruary 18, 2010 

The Lexington Public Library's choice for a new executive director rejected the job this week, leaving the library uncertain about what it will do next.

The library board last week approached its favorite candidate with an offer, said board Chairman Larry Smith on Wednesday. But the candidate, whose name Smith would not disclose, declined the job this week, citing a spousal job conflict, Smith said.

The board might reconsider the other two finalists, return to the entire pool of 32 applicants or start over with a new search, Smith said.

"It could be weeks or possibly more if we decide to go back to square one," Smith said.

Two of the three finalists said Wednesday they were not offered the job: Don W. Barlow, executive director of Westerville Public Library in Ohio, and Brian Lewis, county librarian at Tulare County Library in Visalia, Calif.

The third finalist, Cindy Lombardo, public services administrator at Cleveland Public Library in Ohio, did not return a call seeking comment.

All three finalists were in Lexington two weeks ago to meet the library board and staff and the community at a public forum.

The library board fired the previous executive director, Kathleen Imhoff, last July under a clause in her contract that said she could be fired without cause. She had held the job for six years.

The board, appointed by Lexington's mayor, oversees the Central Library and five branch libraries, with an annual budget of about $15 million.

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