The Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Library board voted Thursday to hire Taylor Eubank as interim director.
Eubank succeeds director Laura Whitehead, who is resigning effective June 30, five months after accepting the job. Whitehead and her husband will move to Waco, Texas, where her husband has accepted a job offer.
Library Board President Tommy Brown made a motion to pay Tommy Brown $6,000 per month from July 1, 2017, to Dec. 31, 2o17. Trustees Alisa Smith, LaNelle Roberts, Ann Talbot, Anna Marie Jacks, Josephine Bell, and Brown voted for the motion after meeting in executive session for 11 minutes.
Brown specified the contract would end if the library board hires a permanent director before Dec. 31, or if either party wants to end the relationship for any reason. Brown congratulated Eubank and trustees welcomed him to the post.
“I am happy to be back with the board,” Eubank said.
Eubank was previously the library’s interim director in 2016 after the December 2015 firing of director Michael Sawyer.
Brown asked Eubank to do an exit interview of Whitehead and Eubank said he will do so. Whitehead said she will remain in touch.
These changes come seven months after voters approved a 3.0-mill tax increase to raise $14 million in November 2016 to construct a new library building in Pine Bluff and renovate four Jefferson County library buildings. The library board has already signed an agreement with Main Street Development LLC to spend $385,000 to buy 618 Main St. for a new facility.
In other news, Whitehead gave a report about 12 architectural firms who submitted requests for qualifications to design the new library building. She judged the firms based on their experience and technical competence regarding the type of professional services required; the firms’ proximity to and familiarity with the area in which the project is located; their records of performance regarding control of costs, quality of work, and ability to meet schedules and deadlines; and capacity and capability of the firm to perform the work in question including specialized services, within the time limitation fixed for the completion of the project.
Whitehead recommended Memphis, Tennessee-based Allen & Hoshall of Arkansas and Little Rock-based Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects. She said she chose those companies based on their requests for qualifications and that both companies sent representatives to tour the current Pine Bluff library and the future library site.
The trustees voted to invite representatives of the companies to a meeting. Brown said the library building committee must negotiate a contractual agreement with one of the companies.