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Library CEO turns down job amid community pushback



Indianapolis, Indiana – The Indianapolis Public Library revealed its new CEO on Thursday.

A day later, that applicant turned down the position.

In a statement released on Thursday, the Board of Trustees celebrated the appointment of Dr. Gabriel Morley. Morley, though, declared on Friday that he would be resigning from the role because he was “disheartened” by what had transpired.

“Though it was an honor to be chosen by a majority of the board, it is clear that this is not the right fit for me at this time,” said Morley in a statement. “I am disheartened by the way we have come to this point and decision. I wish IndyPL well in its future endeavors.”

Gregory Hill, interim chief public services officer, will serve as acting CEO until the library resumes its search for a permanent CEO “shortly.”

Nichelle Hayes, a veteran employee of the library who had served as the temporary CEO for eight months, was passed over in favor of Morley. The community was outspoken in its condemnation of Morley’s candidacy and selection, which prompted a petition calling for Hayes to be appointed CEO of the library.

Supporters of Hayes contend that she is more qualified for the job and “fully invested” in the Indianapolis neighborhood. By Friday afternoon, the petition had accumulated more than 650 signatures.

In the past, Morley oversaw the libraries in Atlanta and New Orleans. He graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a PhD in adult education as well as a degree in library science.

A three-year deal was presented to him. Judge Jose Salinas, the head of the library board, stated that he and the other board members “understood” Morley’s choice to decline the position. He justified the hiring procedure as well.

“To those saying that the board did not represent the staff or community, please understand that we received feedback and input from our 15-person search committee that included members from inside the Library and from the community, Library leadership, Library staff, patrons, and other inputs that led us to this decision,” Salinas said. “Dr. Morley earned this offer on his own merit, through his qualifications, and decades of experience. With this news the Library Board will consider how to move forward with another search.”


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