When Gilbert retired in October, he picked Demrow to serve the remainder of his term, in part to give Demrow a leg-up in this year’s election. Demrow, however, lost the May Democratic primary to Magistrate Jimbo Adams, which many in the county saw as a backlash against Gilbert.
Snubbed by magistrates
When Demrow nominated Gilbert to the library board last month, per the library board’s request, none of the magistrates would second the motion and so it died. Instead, Magistrate David Faulkner nominated Wayne Berry, who then won unanimous approval from the magistrates.
On Tuesday, Demrow called that snub “an embarrassment.”
“After all Buckwheat has done for this county, to deny him a spot on the library board is almost slanderous,” Demrow said. “It’s all payback for times past.”
Gilbert and the magistrates endured a rocky relationship during the last of Gilbert’s tenure. Faulkner said Tuesday, “There’s no love lost between the past administration and those of us who are still here.”
But Faulkner and Adams said their lack of support for Gilbert was not personal. Adams said he endorsed Berry for the library board because he represented new blood that could bring in some fresh ideas.
Faulkner said he nominated Berry because one of his constituents, a former library board member, had asked him to.
And there was some confusion. Berry’s name was on the board’s recommendation letter, as a second choice to Julian Gander, whom magistrates voted to give another term on the board.
Gilbert’s name was submitted by the board as the first — and only — choice to replace Sharon Woods, who said she wasn’t interested in another four-year term.
Magistrates' choice rejected
Magistrates voted to name Gander and Berry to the board, but that was contrary to the board’s wishes. When those two names were sent to the state Library and Archives Department for approval, the state agency rejected Berry’s appointment with backing from the local library board.
It turns out that Demrow has the power to appoint members to the library board on his own, without approval from Fiscal Court. He exercised that power Tuesday and appointed Gilbert.
“I’ve always included them in things because I thought it was the right thing to do,” Demrow explained.
Faulkner said afterward that he thought magistrates would have to vote to rescind last month’s action appointing Berry before Gilbert could be named to the board.
County Attorney Daryl Day, however, said the magistrates’ vote last month carried no official weight and that Demrow’s appointment of Gilbert would stand on its own.