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Here’s why Eugene White supports interim CEO as Indy library leader

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Eugene White, the newest member of the Indianapolis Public Library Board, has explained in an email why he publicly declared his opposition to a popular choice for the system’s chief executive officer.

News 8 obtained the email Wednesday from a source who requested to remain anonymous. White is a former superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools and the interim principal at North Central High School. He sat in on his first library board meeting Monday night, where no decision was made on a new CEO.

Nichelle Hayes held the role of interim library CEO for nine months while leaders searched for a permanent CEO. She previously received support from community advocates as well as more than a dozen members of the City-County Council.

White had also backed her.

“I changed my mind on that when I learned all the facts involved,” White said at the Monday meeting, and declined to explain his reasons.

In the email, sent Tuesday, White told Hayes he was disappointed she never called him as promised before the Monday meeting.

“From the outside looking in, I thought a great legal injustice had occurred and I agreed to join the Library Board to provide Justice for you,” White wrote.

He says, though, in his research, he learned other library board members did not believe Hayes was “ready” for the job.

In an earlier meeting White had with Hayes and Interim CEO Greg Hill after joining the library board, White noted Hayes didn’t have “the practical experience” of evaluating employees, budgeting, or serving as a regional library branch manager. He reiterated those details in his email.

The email also reveals White and Hill had offered Hayes two administrative leadership positions in the library system, promising “to give you ‘coaching’ and ‘support’ as you lead in the positions.”

“I told you that Greg Hill had served in every position in IndyPL and I would recommend him to be the new CEO of IndyPL,” White wrote. “You didn’t react to this very well even though you knew He had been offered the CEO position before you and declined it. I told you we wanted to put you in a key leadership position because we wanted to make this a ‘win-win’ situation and try to make up for the hurt and harm done to you. You told me you would let me know your decision by Monday, but you failed to keep your promise.”

White’s email also noted that Hill accrued 23 years of military service, including leadership in the Navy, before retiring and getting degrees in library science and strategic management. He started with the library system an hourly assistant and worked his way up to the job of the system’s chief public services officer before becoming interim CEO.

White finished his email, “I also sincerely hope you take the Branch Manager job at the Martindale Brightwood Branch and work with Greg to help make IndyPL the best library system in the USA. Please contact Greg if you are interested in the branch leadership position.”

News 8’s Katiera Winfrey sent a message to Hayes on Tuesday via Facebook but did not get a reply.

The board of trustees said in December that it planned to appoint a “new leader from the community” in early 2023.