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Indy library names permanent CEO through resolution

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — In a surprising move, the Indianapolis Public Library Board of Trustees approved a resolution Monday night naming current interim chief executive officer Gregory Hill to the permanent role.

The decision came after nearly four months of protests calling for Nichelle Hayes to be named to the role.

Despite ongoing community protest, a majority of the board has stood by the decision to not appoint Hayes. The crowd got was so upset Monday night the board ended up finishing in a private room.

The library board union president says it may appear like a lost, but it’s a victory in how it’s awoken voters.

“I think this is going to blow up in their faces,” said board trustee Stephen Lane.

He’s a somewhat recent appointee but has advocated for Hayes to be appointed.

Lane said, “It was a lot of disgust, confusion, and really a lot of sadness. Considering that they aren’t listening to the community that showing out.”

Lane ripped up the resolution in what he says was an act of protest. He believes the action was the board’s attempt to sweep away months of protests.

“People at the meeting were not aware that was going to happen. I think they were all caught off guard, and that’s why you saw the reaction that you saw,” Lane said.

Lane says he’s hopes to build bridges, but there’s a wall dividing the board that’ll first need to be knocked down.

Hill has been serving as interim CEO since December, shortly after a New Orleans library director, Gabriel Morley, declined the job offer. Although acting CEO Hayes was the remaining candidate, she didn’t get the job.

Hill served in the military more than 20 years before coming to work for the library in 2011.

Library union president Michael Torres said, “I’ve never seen a board so determined to keep or just ignoring the community, ignoring the staff.”

He said this decision shows people in power are working to stay in power, adding that Hill has primarily served in managerial roles.

“As far as frontline workers, I don’t think he’s had that much of a connection with them, and we are the backbone.”

The library board president says Hill has demonstrated steady and sure leadership in every position he’s held.

Hill said in a statement: “The first step in that forward progress must begin with healing. My commitment is to be a leader who brings people together, both inside IndyPL and across the community.”

News 8s reached out to Hayes, who sent a poem titled “Won’t You Celebrate With Me.” The last line reads, “something has tried to kill me, and has failed.”