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Portage Public Library won’t ‘hurry’ in search for new director

March 14, 2019

An interim director who came out of retirement gives the Portage Public Library up to six months to find the best possible candidate for the position, Board President Karl Kindschi said Tuesday.

The library hired Susan Santner of Wautoma as interim director for a term of six months after the previous interim director, Leslie Schultz, accepted the library director position at Slinger Community Library.

The library fired Emily Goad in February and then appointed Schultz as interim director for the second time in a year. Schultz, who starts her new job in Slinger on Monday, served as interim director in the summer when Jessica Bergin left Portage to become the director at Baraboo Public Library.

The library hired Schultz as adult programmer in late 2017.

“Because we have Susan (Santner) at the helm, who has tons of experience, we’re not in a big hurry,” Kindschi said of the library’s open director position. “We want to fill it as soon as we can, but we also need to make sure we find a qualified candidate.”

“If we find that candidate in our first round of interviews, that’s fine. But if we don’t, we will repost the position until we find the right person.”

The Portage Public Library posted the open position two weeks ago and will continue accepting applications until March 28, Kindschi said.

Santner, who was formally introduced to the full board during its monthly meeting Tuesday, had most recently served as director of Oregon Public Library in southern Dane County. She retired two years ago after seven years as Oregon’s director and has more than 25 years of experience working in libraries.

“Portage should be very proud of this library and the people working here,” she said of her start as interim director in Portage. “The staff is very dedicated, and I am just delighted to meet everyone (in Portage). I’m here to help the staff and to keep things rolling until the new director is hired.”

Kindschi said the board is confident it will fill the open position with a strong candidate and that it might eventually tap into Santner’s expertise.

“We want to take our time in reviewing the applications and there’s no deadline (for the hire),” he said. “All I can say about Emily (Goad) is that she was in her probationary period, and after that period, it just didn’t fit for both parties. We felt it wasn’t a good match.”

Goad, hired in July, was terminated after the board conducted a performance review of her first six months as director, for which the city received feedback from library staff and her superiors, according to documents the Daily Register received from City Administrator Shawn Murphy and City Clerk Marie Moe via an open records request.

The library board and Murphy discussed the reasons for her termination during a closed session on Feb. 8. Documented reasons included her failure to complete assignments; an inability to establish or maintain effective working relationships with staff and the board; and lack of consistency and proficiency in carrying out the essential duties of her position.