When Tim Wadham was terminated — effective immediately — from his role as the director of the Puyallup Public Library on Feb. 9, many people loyal to him felt blindsided.
Following Wadham’s termination, the city of Puyallup’s only explanation was that the library director exhibited a poor job performance. Many disagreed, including Puyallup Library Board Chairman Troy Kehm-Goins.
According to a News Tribune report, Kehm-Goins instructed the city to take his remarks at the Puyallup City Council meeting following Wadham’s termination as his “formal resignation” from the board. He said he did not want to work alongside some city staff that undermined the leadership of the library director.
“I’m really disappointed,” Kehm-Goins told the council. “I wish there were answers.”
Since then, the city has added nothing more to its original statement.
“We’re going to be actively recruiting for a permanent director and the city is moving forward,” Puyallup City Attorney Steve Kirkelie said.
On March 2, City Manager Kevin Yamamoto appointed Rhonda Gould as the interim library director.
Gould carries a master’s degree in library science and has past leadership experience at libraries in Wisconsin, Kirkelie said. Within the past two years, Gould moved to Washington state from Wisconsin, taking a job at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord library. A year ago she worked as a temporary employee at the Puyallup Library. Yamamoto appointed her after remembering her quality work.
“Rhonda is doing a great job,” Kirkelie said.
Kirkelie said the search for a new library director will start soon.
“The city would like to place the new director in the next four to six months, if not sooner,” Kirkelie explained.
In the meantime, Gould will manage and oversee all library programs and operations.
A major project Gould is working on is preparing for the 2015Festival of Books in cooperation with the Puyallup Library Foundation, Kirkelie said. The third annual festival, “Memories of Valor,” will take place Oct. 23-24.
Wadham was a co-founder of the Festival of Books. He also attracted award-winning entertainers and writers to the library, including singer/songwriter Graham Nash, author J.A. Jance and original Santana drummer Michael Shrieve.