BELLOWS FALLS -- Celina Houlne, the terminated director of the Rockingham Free Public Library, will be rehired to her post following a 6-2 vote of the facility's trustees Tuesday night.
The trustees met with Constance Pell, a lawyer appointed by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, and Town Attorney Stephen Ankuda in executive session for more than two hours Tuesday to discuss an agreement that calls for the negotiation of an "evergreen" contract with Houlne. According to the terms sheet, the initial term of the contract will expire on June 30, 2016.
Houlne must complete her continuing education in staff and organizational management, financial management, grant research and writing.
"I can't wait to get back to work," said Houlne, who was fired by the trustees in September 2013. She was controversially relieved of her position via a 5-3 trustee vote following an evaluation of her performance and filed a lawsuit with the trustees to challenge her termation.
Then-Chairwoman Janice Mitchell-Love, then-Vice Chairwoman Deborah Wright and Trustees Hope Brissette, Paige Pietrzak and Laura Senes voted to fire Houlne, while Trustees Ray Massucco, Carolyn Frisa and Pat Fowler did not. The termination started a successful grassroots campaign to elected a unified slate of candidates that included Massucco, Carol Blackwood, Doreen Aldrich and David Gould. All four were elected to the trustee board in March. Gould defeated Wright in a head-to-head contest and was later named chairman. Senes did not seek re-election and Pietzrak resigned from the board last month.
All four members of that unified slate voted Tuesday to negotiate an "evergreen" contract with Houlne (as did Frisa and Fowler), though Mitchell-Love and Brissette voted against the motion.
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