West Virginia State Librarian Fred Glazer Fired without Explanation

By Chepesiuk, Ron | American Libraries, June-July 1996 | Go to article overview

West Virginia State Librarian Fred Glazer Fired without Explanation


Chepesiuk, Ron, American Libraries


In a 4-3 vote April 22, the West Virginia Library Commission, giving no reason for its action, fired its director, Fred Glazer, after 24 years of service. An hour later, Glazer was unemployed and unable to get back into his office.

"It's a sad day for West Virginia libraries," said William Young, a library commissioner who voted against Glazer's firing. "I have known Fred for 24 years and I have never known anybody to say anything bad about him. He's creative and competent and loved his job."

"My firing was personal and political," Glazer told American Libraries. "Personal agendas have been carried out against me." He added that until this past March he had no idea the board was displeased with his work, since they had not evaluated his recent performance. "In fact," he emphasized, "I never had an evaluation in all my 24 years."

That changed March 29, when Commission Chairperson Merle Moore and four other commissioners invited Glazer to lunch, ostensibly to discuss his evaluation. The evaluation didn't come up, Glazer said, but he was given an ultimatum: resign or be fired. Glazer asked that the ultimatum be put in writing, and he received a hand-delivered letter April 9 telling him to resign by 4 p.m. the next day or be fired at the commission's April 22 meeting.

"He serves at the will and pleasure of the commission," Moore, who voted for Glazer's dismissal, told the press. "Most department heads do. That's always the policy."

Many sources believe Glazer's firing was either political or personal. "The only thing I've heard from these people [on the commission] is that `it's time for a change' and `we need new ideas,"' said Telbert Horstemeyer, one of the three members supporting Glazer. "They [the commission] just wanted to get rid of him," observed Ravis Sharma, director of the West Virginia State College Library in Institute.

Others (who wouldn't comment for attribution) believe the affair is personal, involving Glazer and Moore in events going back 20 years. "The commission was certainly out for blood," said one source.

According to a report in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Moore and State Secretary of Arts and Education Barbara Harmon-Schamberger "ran down the hallway and into an elevator to keep from answering reporters' questions about why the Library Commission director was fired." American Libraries asked three of the commissioners who voted for Glazer's dismissal to comment, but they directed all questions to Chairman Moore, who did not return phone calls. …

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