Port Townsend Library director to retire after being put on leave
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
Theresa Percy, Port Townsend Library director, is seen in February speaking at a City Council meeting.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — Port Townsend Library Director Theresa Percy, who was put on administrative leave last month after a workplace complaint, has announced her retirement as of September.

Percy's administrative leave, which began
June 19, will continue through that time, so she will not return to work, according to City Manager David Timmons.

Percy was placed on leave after a workplace complaint said she had advocated passage of a proposed $3 million bond issue for library renovation while on office time, said a joint statement by Percy and the city that was released late Wednesday afternoon.

City employees are forbidden to campaign for any measure on city time.

Reached Thursday, Percy declined any comment beyond what was in the statement.

The complaint said that she had asked another library staff member to gather information that could be used in support of the bond issue on the Aug. 6 primary ballot, according to the statement.

“The information was never used for the campaign. Nevertheless, Ms. Percy's action created an appearance of impropriety that needed to be addressed and further evaluated,” it continued.

“The city was reviewing how to respond to the matter when she announced her decision to retire,” the statement said.

After learning of the potential violation, the city notified the Public Disclosure Commission of the potential violation but there has been no response, the statement said.

Percy will not engage in any support of the measure while on leave “in order to avoid any issues,” the statement said.

Percy, 64, began work as library director in January 2004. Timmons hired her over three other finalists.

She receives a salary of $74,046 a year.

Percy was involved in the library renovation project since taking the job, working with staff, architects and the library board as the project was modified and eventually scaled down in preparation for the bond issue vote.

The estimated renovation cost at one point exceeded $9 million and included a three-story expansion that was intended to provide the library's needs for 30 years.

This plan was cut back in preparation for the bond issue to include two stories and no basement.

In May 2012, the library moved from the Carnegie building at 1220 Lawrence St. to the Mountain View Commons at 1919 Blaine St. for what was intended to be a six-month stay.

Current expectations are for a move-in date of early 2015.

If the measure fails to gain a supermajority on the primary ballot, the library would begin moving back into the Carnegie building, which has been renovated and reinforced since the closure, though its upper floors will no longer support the previous weight load, said architect Jim Cary.

In the joint statement, Timmons commended Percy's management of the library in general and support of the library expansion project in particular.

“She was the right person as library director to take the project to where it is now, where the voters can decide on whether to approve a funding package for the project,” Timmons said.

“It involved a lot of hard work and dedication to do that, for which I am truly appreciative.”

Under Percy's supervision, the library received a three-star rating from the Library Journal for two consecutive years, 2009 and 2010, recognition determined by circulation, library attendance, program attendance and computer use on a per capita basis.

Timmons said he could appoint an interim library director as early as next week.

He said the process of hiring a new permanent director would be open, with opportunities for public input.

Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: July 04. 2013 9:01PM
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