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INDIANAPOLIS— The Indianapolis Public Library Board of Trustees approved a resolution during a special board meeting Tuesday to create a temporary contractual Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) position that will filled by Anita J. Harden.

“The Board is confident that with her depth of experience guiding organizations through periods of transition, Ms. Harden is uniquely positioned to lead the library through the next several months,” said Hope C. Tribble, IndyPL Board of Trustees President. “We are thankful for her willingness to serve and believe that with her appointment, we are poised to secure a bright future for our library.”

Harden will work under the direction of Acting CEO Gregory Hill and in conjunction with the Board to support IndyPL’s mission, vision and strategic plan.

At that same board meeting, however, members of the community showed up and were angry about Harden’s appointment. One of the board members who disagreed was Dr. Patricia Payne. The resolution for Harden was approved 4-2.

“I fail to see how bringing in another person is going to bridge any gap, particularly when we already had Nichelle Hayes,” said Payne.

Hayes served as acting CEO for several months last year but was never offered the job permanently. There were protesters who gathered outside the library in December to express their anger about Hayes getting passed over for the position.

“She (Hayes) was straightforward. She talked about what she needed to do to be even a better CEO. She worked with the existing executive team, some of whom said all kinds of concerns and good things about her leadership, and we ignore it without further deliberation,” said board member Dr. Khaula Murtadha.

Harden says she’s focused on helping the library achieve its vision for the upcoming year and improving employee conditions.

As owner of Interim Executives, LLC, Harden has assisted numerous community institutions with strategic planning and transformation, including Family Service of Central Indiana, the Indiana Minority Health Coalition, Lutheran Child and Family Services, the Indiana Latino Institute and the Madam Walker Legacy Center

As the meeting adjourned, people holding signs in the crowd chanted, “The board keeps lying!”

The board has another meeting scheduled for Monday January 23.

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