Columbia County commissioners refused Tuesday to consider a plea from some Grovetown residents to reverse the transfer of a supervisor for the Euchee Creek Library.
Chairman Ron Cross did not receive a motion to reconsider the transfer of John Welch during the meeting.
Welch unwillingly started his new position on Monday as a reference specialist at the main Columbia County Library in Evans. He was notified of his transfer last month.
In their failed attempt to keep Welch in Grovetown, Euchee Creek Library patrons presented commissioners a petition with 300 signatures.
Karen Gross, a retired librarian and a former co-worker of Welch, presented the petition.
"We just really feel John is a good fit out there," said Gross, who spoke to commissioners on behalf of those siding with Welch.
With a bachelor's degree in history, Welch lacks the education to supervise a library branch, county officials have said.
Though he may not have the preferred degree of a master's in library science, Gross argued that his experience in running the Euchee Creek branch since it opened in 1994 makes up for it.
Gross said that officials should value a degree but that they also should value "on the job experience."
Because of growth in the Grovetown area, officials say that branch needs someone with a master's degree in library science to prepare for the expected increase in demand.
A recent study showed that the Euchee Creek branch was the second-busiest library in the Augusta area until the new downtown library opened this year.
"It was thought a lot could be accomplished by putting (a librarian with a master's degree) at Euchee Creek," Cross said.
Replacing Welch is Keisha Evans, who has the preferred degree.
Officials also noted that Welch has done a poor job of updating books at the Euchee Creek branch, dressed inappropriately and slept on the job.
During a Sept. 28 meeting between Euchee Creek Library patrons and commission Chairman Ron Cross, Welch defended himself against some of those accusations. He said that he and his staff started dressing in approved garb after he received a complaint from county Library Manager Mary-Lin Maner.
Though he once took naps during his lunch hour in an employee lounge, Welch said he also ended that practice after Maner complained.
"I've yet to reconcile with that, regardless of the location and the application," Cross said of Welch's naps.
Gross and others have complained that those supervising Welch did not document behavior they found unacceptable.
Cross said that likely was a benefit to Welch. Had his sleeping during work hours been documented beyond a performance evaluation, Cross said, Welch likely would be facing termination rather than a transfer.
Commissioner Scott Dean, who represents the Grovetown area, said that the decision to transfer Welch was approved by numerous managers -- Maner, Community and Leisure Services Director Barry Smith, Deputy Administrator Scott Johnson and Administrator Steve Szablewski -- and that he had heard "no justification to overturn four levels of management decisions."
Dean said that he understood the loyalty of Welch's supporters but that he couldn't champion it.
"The government doesn't produce entitled jobs," he said.
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