CROWN POINT | The Lake County Council was asked Thursday to shelve its representative on the Gary Public Library board because of her role in the controversial closing of the city's main library.
Ben Coleman, a former Gary library board president, asked the council to remove its appointment, Cynthia Watts, from the library's board of trustees because of her vote last month to convert the downtown Gary facility into a museum.
Councilwoman Elsie Franklin, D-Gary, said she supports Watts' recall.
"We need to put someone on the library board who is library friendly," Franklin said. "We don't want the library to close, because it is used every day."
Current Gary library board President Tony Walker, who supports converting the library into a museum, said he will help defend Watts.
"Cynthia Watts did not create the financial crisis that the library finds itself in," Walker said. "All she did was the responsible thing and align our expenses with our projected revenue."
Watts could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Walker told The Times last month that the Gary library board was faced with declining revenues because of mandated property tax cuts.
He said the conversion of the main library to a museum would cut operating costs from $2.3 million per year to about $350,000.
The Lake County Council may take up the issue of Watts' possible recall at its regular meeting Tuesday. Walker said he expects the council to provide Watts with legal notice and a public hearing to give her a chance to hear the complaint against her and answer it.