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Evanston officials have disclosed that the city’s former adult services librarian, Lesley Williams, was paid $110,000 in severance to resign her position after she’d twice been suspended by the library director.

The disclosure came in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Chicago Tribune.

Williams had been scheduled to earn just under $96,000 in salary from her library position this year.

Williams, the city’s only black librarian, resigned late last month after coming under fire from some library board members for criticizing the library’s performance on diversity issues.

Wednesday night the library board reviewed plans to hire an equity consultant. A decision on which consultant to hire is expected at the board’s Aug. 3 meeting. 

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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12 Comments

  1. Quite the precedent —
    Quite the precedent — clearly a fear tax.

    My hope is she immediately donates her after tax windfall to a local charity championing equity.

  2. Severence

    Ms. Lyons should pay for this out of HER salary…….we would all hope Ms. Willaims is not going to keep quiet about all of this.  What an embarassment for the library……and all the sheep who are board members.

  3. Smells

    Since the library board reports into the mayor, it is time for our mayor to investigate what is going on at the library. After paying a librarian to leave and then hiring a consultant, it smells like a cover-up is in the air.

    1. The truth will prevail

      Yep….something is really rotten at the EPL.   Ms. Lyons should be investigated, and the board members maybe need to be voted out, and have the mayor vett new ones.   I hope the Rev. Dr. Nabors gets into this mess as well, and finds out all the smelly stuff going on.  Some of us are NOT stupid  and  are not afraid to speak up.  The truth will prevail, for sure!

      1. EPL transparency

        Ms. Williams can publicly release all of the documentation of her disciplinary action over the past five years. She has worked for a long time to share objective facts and now is the time for her to publish the Library’s documentation for her alleged insubordination and mistreatment of subordinates and patrons. Let the truth prevail.

        1. What is real story ?

          I like most have no real idea what all the charges were, but the two I’ve heard—the speaker, and a patron who yelled at her for being racist—are obviously the Board covering for themselves. As to not being able to release the charges, anyone who has worked for a private or public company knows the other employees always know what the issue/charges were—it was no secret and no restraints on answering questions from others. Apparently city employees are sworn to protect the management—not employees.

          I have dealt with Ms. Williams many times over the years. The only criticism I could make is that she, like some other librarians tends to respond to suggestions with “..if that was a good idea we would have already done it.’ However that is the same response from some other EPL and NU librarians and city employees.  Ms. Williams did listen to every word and responded reasonably to the question—in contrast to many others [EPL, NU, city] who don’t listen but give a stock answer to a question you did not even ask.

          To say that she did not promote ethnic inclusion is mind blowing, I guess some thought she was not ‘black enough’ [there is an old literature phrase for that] and others [the Director and Board] who must have thought her too black and ‘uppity.’

          Whatever she ‘did wrong’ all this shows the Director and Board have much more serious faults and an overhaul in staff is needed.

          1. overhaul

            Great idea.  who does this?  The mayor?  Hopefully, not Wally B., who has many times shown…(publicly and secretly) not to be impartial…..too much deception going on….can anyone call in the Rev. Dr. Nabors to help?  I hope he’s reading all these comments.

  4. Not a windfall

    It befuddles me that anyone would suggest that Ms Williams donate this money to a charity, and to go as far as to call it a windfall. She was slated to earn almost as much for the year if she was allowed to actually work for it. The very strange set of circumstances that has led to this woman exiting a job that she obviously was passionate about, needs to be investigated. From all appearances it seems as if the wrong person is out of a job, and that the reading public is the worst for it. This will be a good time for the new mayor who garnered votes from all demographics across the city,take a look at what went down. I am not sure if there was an agreement between Ms Williams and the board to not pursue this any further, but i hope she is not sitting still while the board alienates a large portion of the library patrons.

    1. patrons no more

      My neighbors , friends and I  will no longer support the library…we’re going to Wilmette..(and free parking, by the way).  I’m sure a lot of other (ex) patrons will follow suit.  Lots of deception going on….hopefully it will be made public very soon.   There are some really serious issues going on there.

  5. When Bill Smith writes a

    When Bill Smith writes a headline like ‘Librarian paid $110,000 to go away’ it’s not only poor English (one should never end a sentence with a preposition), it’s also intended to stir up emotions rather than simply report a story.

    1. Grammar

      Hi Sarah,

      You are ignorant about both grammar and journalism.

      1. The “rule” about not ending a sentence with a preposition is phony. It was famously parodied by Winston Churchill. (See numerous citations here.)

      2. “Away” is not a preposition. It’s an adverb.

      3. The headline accurately describes the situation in a colorful fashion designed to encourage people to read the story, which is a key goal of journalism.

      Three strikes. You’re out.

      — Bill

      1. Grammar Guy

        A big smiley face and gold star for you on your comment!  (I’m a teacher)….lol

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