The newest revisions to library policy guidelines for the Leander Public Library has drawn criticism from at least one member of the Leander city council.
Christine Sederquist is criticizing the revisions, claiming city staff pushed her out of discussions and prevented her from working on them despite it being her own agenda item.
“I can’t think of a single reason I’m being denied access to things at every single turn if everything is on the up and up,” Sederquist said.
The council reviewed the city’s previous proposed policy changes at its July 18 meeting and ultimately voted to take no action so they could spend more time reviewing the policies. Sederquist offered a motion during the meeting to pass the city’s revisions with several controversial provisions stripped out but the motion failed because it didn’t receive a second.
In the following three weeks, Sederquist said she repeatedly asked that the revisions she had offered be added to her agenda item and that she be allowed to review the city's latest revisions before it was posted on the agenda.
Leander Public Information Officer Mike Neu confirmed that only city staff worked on the revisions but deferred specific questions about how the policy was crafted to Interim City Manager Gordon Pierce.
“We tried our best to bring something back in a format that the council could knowingly and confidently take action on,” Neu said. “Staff feels like her concerns for the most part have been addressed. It may not be verbatim what she may have intended. But for the most part those concerns were addressed any we’re willing to answer any questions she has at the meeting.”
Pierce was the only city staff member to directly respond to Sederquist's requests, replying to her emails on Aug. 6 by writing “the proposed policy is not ready for release.”
Council policy requires all council members receive a copy of staff’s response to a individual council member’s inquiry and that they would provide a copy of the revisions to all members if they completed it before the agenda.
Sederquist responded she was fine will all members getting a copy and again asked for copies. She said she did not receive any further response from staff or Pierce.
Pierce did not respond to calls and text messages left by the Hill Country News by the time of publication.
“All of us that were elected, we ran on more transparency. If I’m not going to have my questions answered by the city, I’m going to go to the people,” Sederquist said. “I would have liked to have gotten to work on revisions to the policy at any point over the last two months I’ve been asking for it.…You don’t get to put my name on something, never once involve me and personally push me out of the discussions. It’s got my freaking name on it.”
Sederquist also claimed the city's two cancellations were discriminatory and aimed at silencing voices that generate controversy. She said the city's actions and staff's refusal to answer a council member's questions aimed to creating transparency over the controversy only strengthens her belief.