Patty Furr, the recently ousted executive director of the Jackson-Hinds Library System (JHLS) is denying the accusations levied against her by the board of trustees, one day after being fired from her position.
“They are totally untrue,” she said. “They are just trying to get rid of me. I have been totally denied due process.”
On June 30, the board of trustees notified Furr by letter that she had been fired as director, a position she had held since 2013.
Furr told the Sun the firing was a total surprise, and further said that she had never been given a chance by the board to respond to the accusations.
The board members cited a variety of management issues behind her termination.
Reasons stated in a one page letter to Furr read as follows: “fostering a hostile work environment;” “insubordination and failure to properly notify and inform the system board of trustees regarding critical financial matters, matters involving public safety and employment matters;” “misapplication and/or misappropriation of funds for improvements to facilities and raises for employees;” and “communication of misleading or false information to the system board resulting in the board not having the ability to make informed decisions for the system.”
“It’s very disappointing for someone to accuse you of theft without allowing you to be presented evidence and allowed to respond,” she said.
Furr said the board had previously held a no confidence vote but did not vote to terminate her.
She also said that the board told her she would have 30 days to respond to that vote.
The letter stated that the board had made the decision to terminate Furr as executive director at a May 29 meeting. The board met again on June 23 to “further discuss its decision and voted to confirm its May 29 vote to terminate (her) employment.”
Furr hopes to be reinstated and is planning to take legal action to clear her name.
“All library expenses are approved by the library board. Any misappropriation they would not have approved,” she said.
Prior to every meeting, Furr said board members receive a packet of information including copies of all checks that have been written, purchase orders and other documentation outlining expenses.
“If there were any misappropriations, they have voted to approve them.”
The longtime director said the claims likely stem from the fact that the library system’s credit card number was stolen and misused.
“The library credit card was used for travel to the Public Library Association conference. The card number was stolen and use to charge $1,200 in hotel rooms to Atlanta,” she said. “I haven’t been to Atlanta in years, except in the airport.
“It was verified by the bank that the card was stolen, and the funds were put back into the account.”
Furr also believes the accusations are related to false unemployment claims filed in her name.
As for misusing raise money, Furr said no employees in the system have received raises since 2015.
“This is scurrilous information and I intend to defend my name.”
Officials with the library board could not be reached for comment.