Port Townsend City Hall mum about why head librarian placed on leave

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Port Townsend Library Director Theresa Rini Percy is on administrative leave while a complaint against her is investigated, according to City Manager David Timmons.

Timmons placed Percy on leave Wednesday after an internal complaint was filed, he said Friday.

He would not say what prompted the action.

A City Council executive session to discuss the matter has been scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday in council chambers at historic City Hall, 540 Water St.

Timmons said he intended to present the complaint to the council, which will then determine whether to take action.

Executive sessions are not recorded, according to Deputy City Clerk Joanna Sanders, who said that if council members wish to take action after an executive session, they will open a public meeting.

Timmons said he would not speculate on any possible council actions and declined to say what options are possible in Percy’s case.

He called it “an internal matter” that is being investigated by an independent source.

He said he expected to get a verbal result from that investigation Friday.

Timmons, Percy and Mayor David King declined to comment further.

“I don’t have anything to say about this right now,” King said.

“We are going to do this by the book.”

Timmons said that he hopes to issue a statement with details of the action sometime next week.

City Attorney John Watts is out of town until Wednesday, so the city has secured a substitute attorney to address the matter as part of its insurance package, Timmons said.

Percy, 64, began as library director in January 2004 and was hired by Timmons over three other finalists.

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

A $3 million bond to support library expansion is on the Aug. 6 ballot. Timmons said he did not know how Percy’s leave would affect the bond effort.

While lacking specifics on Percy’s situation, those on both sides of the bond issue said Friday that the personnel action probably would not affect voting.

“We are going to move ahead,” said Sheila Khalov, who is heading the effort to pass the bond.

“We expect that we will be able to use this situation to ‘rally the troops’ and get support for the bond while clearing up some of the misconceptions.”

“I’m not sure this has anything to do with the bond issue,” said bond opponent Rick Jahnke of Percy’s suspension.

“I think everyone wants what is best for the library.”

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

Last modified: June 22. 2013 6:02PM
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