Member of library board out

Longtime Las Vegas-Clark County Library District board member Louis Overstreet resigned Wednesday morning, citing a disagreement over financial issues.

“It was just fundamentally about core values,” Overstreet said.

Twice during Tuesday night’s meeting, Overstreet came out on the losing end of board votes.

Instead of replacing outgoing Executive Director Dan Walters with the deputy director, which Overstreet wants, the board voted to conduct a national search at a cost of $47,000.

The board also voted to go ahead with preliminary plans to build a $30 million distribution center, a plan Overstreet said “makes no sense.”

“I’m very sorry that Dr. Overstreet has left,” said board Chairwoman Frances Barron. “He’s been a great contributor to the board.”

The County Commission will appoint a replacement for Overstreet, who joined the board 71/2 years ago. His term would have been up next March.

Overstreet said the issue over the director should be a slam dunk. There is no need to spend thousands of dollars when a great candidate already works for the district, he said.

Deputy Director Robb Morss has been with the district for 25 years. He is competent and wants the job, Overstreet said.

“To me, it would have been an easy transition,” he said.

Barron said a national search made sense for such a large district. The board has hired search firm Clarity Advisors to conduct the search.

“No matter how good any internal candidate may be, the position’s stature requires that we interview every qualified candidate,” she said.

Walters, the current director, announced his retirement last month after 10 years on the job. His resignation will take effect next June.

Morss, contacted Wednesday afternoon, seemed flummoxed by the attention. He said he would be honored to be considered for the job, but did not want to say yet if he would apply for it.

The other issue is that of the distribution center.

Backers say it would be part of a larger “service center” that would include centralized offices and a central distribution point for library materials.

Currently, different departments are scattered at libraries all over the county.

Also, patrons who want books located at branches not near their homes often must wait several days to get them.

The new center would fix both problems, Barron said. She said Overstreet, until recently, approved of the plan.

Overstreet said he opposed the plan because it has not been justified financially.

The board voted Tuesday to go ahead with plans to hold public hearings on the potential issuance of bonds to pay for the project.

Contact reporter Richard Lake at rlake or 702-383-0307.

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