Library board issues statement

In light of the recent articles in the local on-line newspaper regarding the Boundary County Library, the Board of Trustees makes the following statement:

The Board wants to emphasize that its officers and agents have an ethical and legal obligation to protect the privacy of all of its patrons and employees, as well as their safety, and takes the issue seriously. In that regard, upon being advised of certain potential criminal allegations regarding one of its employees, the Board, through its attorney, contacted the Boundary County Prosecutor’s office and advised it of the allegations and sent to it for further investigation all documents and information in the Board’s possession relating to the allegations.

It is the Board’s understanding that the Boundary County Prosecutor’s Office requested that the Boundary County Sheriff’s Office investigate the allegations, and that the Boundary County Sheriff’s Office in turn requested that the Idaho State Police investigate the allegations. It is also the Board’s understanding, based upon information available to the public in connection with a public records request, that the case was reviewed by Idaho State Police, and that the Boundary County Sheriff’s Office was advised that it was “determined that the incidents were not criminal in nature” and that the “Idaho State Police would not be conducting a criminal investigation into the incidents involving the employees [of] Boundary County Library as reported” and that the case was closed.

After transmitting the allegations and information to the Boundary County Prosecutor, the Board had no further involvement or participation in the process.

No one to the Board’s knowledge has characterized the complaint as “fake” or that the conduct alleged “did not happen.”

One could logically conclude from the statement that it was “determined that the incidents were not criminal in nature” that, even if the allegations were true and the conduct reported occurred, such conduct was not criminal.

The Board of Trustees believes that it acted appropriately in referring the allegations to law enforcement for action, if any, that such authorities deemed appropriate. The Board has no further comment on this issue.

Regarding the other issues raised in the articles, including but not limited to those relating to “whistleblowing” and “retaliation” as well as issues raised by other employees, the Board held a Special Meeting on Monday, April 26, 2021 to discuss whether to retain an outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation of such issues.

The Board voted unanimously to retain such a firm and today has entered into an agreement with a firm to conduct an independent investigation of the complaints. The Board wishes to emphasize that the investigator is not acting as legal counsel to or for the Board or the Library or any other person who will be interviewed as part of the investigation to determine if a violation of law and/or policy has occurred.

At this time, it is not known with any specificity the length of time it will take to conduct the investigation and the Board respectfully requests that there be no communication or interference with the investigator, the investigation or any of the people involved with the investigation.

Upon receipt of the report of the results of the investigation, the Board will consider the report and take appropriate action.

The Board reiterates that the safety of its employees and patrons is a serious concern and of paramount importance and, therefore, the library will remain closed until the Board determines that it is safe to reopen.