Laura Phillips selected to fill open library Trustee seat on 3-1 vote

December 25, 2013
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly

Santa Paula Times 

She started out trying to find something satisfying to do after she retired and now Laura Phillips has been named a Blanchard Community Library Board Trustee.

Phillips was selected by the board on a split 3-1 vote at the December 19 BCL meeting to replace late Trustee Suzi Skutley, who passed November 7, at age 64.

Skutley had been a BCL Trustee and member of the five-person panel since January 2005. She was initially appointed to the seat to replace a trustee who stepped down and later elected to the panel. 

The seat now held by Phillips will be up for election November 2014.

There were three candidates for the seat Tim Hicks, Laura Phillips and Melissa Wodzinski.

After an initial meeting that included a verbal interview trustees evenly split between Hicks and Phillips.

At the December 19 meeting Trustee Beverly Mueller held to her vote supporting Hicks but Trustee Brenda DeJamear switched her support to Phillips.

“Tim was an outstanding candidate and a wonderful supporter of the library,” said Board President Linda Spink. 

“But, I felt Laura has more time,” and offers strong business experience “That the rest of the board do not necessarily have. Laura’s experience is more applicable to library needs at this time.”

Phillips first became actively involved in the library through the Friends organization, which she now serves as recording secretary.

Each candidate also submitted a written interview and Phillips, a geologist whose career included coordinating staff and budgeting among other duties, wrote that after her retirement she wanted to become involved in an organization “in which I could put my efforts and talents to good use and expand my community service.

“The library fit the bill,” and Phillips wrote one reason was because BCL is “in transition after a turbulent year - a place where I could be part of a fresh start with no past associations.”

In addition, Phillips stated she wanted to reconnect with the library and help expand its services, goals that led to her application for trustee.

A 25-year resident of Santa Paula, Phillips with Marisue Eastlake was the co-founder of the effort that led to the creation of the Veterans Park Skateboard Park. She has also been involved in other volunteer efforts over the years.

Hicks is a member of the Mobile Home Rent Review Commission, City of Santa Paula Recreation Commission, served on the Santa Paula Elementary School Board and is active with the Optimist Club among other organizations.

Noted by board members during the previous interview session was that among Hicks’ strengths is his knowledge of the governance of public agencies, including requirements mandated by the Brown Act.

In other business, Spink was selected to serve a second one-year term as president of the board and Trustee Maureen Coughlin was also selected for her second term as board clerk.





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