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State Sen. Elliott: Local officials ‘should have the ability’ to remove library board members

State Sen. Chris Elliott is continuing his charge to hold library boards accountable to their local authorities.

Elliott (R-Josephine) has pre-filed a bill that says municipal and county leaders are not only in charge of appointing local library board members, but also have the right to dismiss them if they deem necessary.

“[A]s I do what so many of us do and ask the question: ‘How in the world did we get here? How is our government, whether it’s our libraries or municipalities or our schools, how are we pushing this type of ideology? How did we get here?’ You find that these types of boards are infiltrated by folks that are not representative of the values of the people of the state of Alabama,” Elliott argued.

Sen. Elliot discussed the issue Wednesday on WVNN’s “The Yaffee Program.”

“And you dig back through it just a little bit and you say, ‘ok well they’re appointed by folks that we elect right?’ Our mayors, our city council people, our county commissioners, and those folks should have the ability to remove board members that are pushing this agenda that’s inconsistent with what their constituents want. But unfortunately the code section wasn’t very clear on that,” he added.

Elliott believes his legislation will make sure that there’s no confusion about the authority of those local leaders when it comes to their ability to fire any of the library board members.

RELATED: Alabama libraries stall disaffiliation with national group accused of ‘Marxism’

“And so if you end up in a situation where you’ve got a board that’s not representing your particular community very well for whatever reason,” he explained, “then those local elected officials may simple say, ‘we need to make a change here,’ and that they have the authority to do that.”

While his bill if focused specifically on library boards, the state lawmaker also believes most government agencies should work in this manner.

“That’s how it should be across the state for any board appointed by any elected official,” he said. “Because we derive our authority from the people. And if the people don’t like what we’re doing, they don’t elect them again. And the same thing should be true with these board appointments. If the appointing authority, the county commissions, the city councils, the mayors don’t like what their appointee is doing, then they should be able to…throw them off the board.”

RELATED: Orr predicts public libraries will lose state funding if changes aren’t made

Elliott addressed some of the pushback he’s received on this issue.

“Well they say that it introduces politics into the library board,” he said. “And my answer to that is simple. We have a representative form of government. All the folks that you vote for are responsible to the folks that elect them, and the appointees should be responsible to those people by extension as well.”

Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” weekdays 9-11 a.m. on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee

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