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Newly appointed Indianapolis Public Library CEO declines job amid public outcry

INDIANAPOLIS — On Thursday night, the Indianapolis Public Library’s Board of Trustees offered Dr. Gabriel Morley the job of CEO, which was followed by boo’s from the public who attended the meeting.

The board picked Dr. Morley over current Interim CEO Nichelle Hayes in a split 4 to 2 vote.

On Friday morning, people upset with the decision started planning a protest to be held outside of the library downtown.

“We had easily 30 to 50 people. We have union organizers, young grass roots organizers, different political leaders, and were going to get involved,” organizer Octavia Florence Snulligan said.

People upset with the boards decision took to social media to let Dr. Morley know they didn’t agree with the decision.

“We have been on fire telling this man we don’t want you here. Like, good luck to you, god speed; not here. Not our Indianapolis,” Snulligan said.

The Indiana Public Library announced Dr. Morley declined the job offer Friday afternoon..

In a statement Dr. Morley said, “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. I am disheartened by the way we have come to this point and decision. I wish IndyPL well in it’s future endeavors.”

This isn’t the first time Dr. Morley has dealt with controversy. In November 2021, WWLTV in New Orleans reported Dr. Morley abruptly resigned his position as director of the New Orleans Public Library after they raised questions about his residency.

He was supposed to be living in the city as an employee, but WWLTV reported he took a homestead tax rebate for a house in Mississippi.

Indianapolis Public Library Board of Trustees President, Judge Jose Salinas, said in a statement: “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.”

The organizer of the planned protest over the hiring of Dr. Morley views Friday as a win.

“Elated. I’m glad that this space is not for him,” Snulligan said. Snulligan plans on staying very involved in the process to find a permanent CEO for the library. They want to make sure the board will look for diverse candidates.