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York County Library director on leave amid investigation into allegations

Colleen Pappas, director of the York County Library for nine years, has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into wide-ranging allegations about her management.
Colleen Pappas, director of the York County Library for nine years, has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into wide-ranging allegations about her management. Herald file photo

Colleen Pappas, director of the York County Library for nine years, has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into wide-ranging allegations about her management.

Anita Rookard, the library’s human resources director, confirmed Monday that Pappas has been placed on leave “until the investigation is completed.” Rookard would not say whether the leave was paid or unpaid.

Jason Hyatt, manager of the library’s Rock Hill headquarters, has been named interim director of the country library system, said Rookard.

Nik Bramblett, a member of the York County Library Board of Trustees, said Monday the investigation was sparked by a two-page anonymous email sent Aug. 7 to library trustees, local and state government officials, state library officials and others.

The email, which was sent from an anonymous email address and which lists 14 allegations against Pappas, said the county-funded library “is in a state of a crisis” and that Pappas “is a major liability for York County,” due to management practices that it said “are unethical at best, and potentially illegal at worst.”

Pappas could not be reached Monday for comment.

Bramblett said Pappas has been placed on 30-day leave, but he declined to say whether it is paid or unpaid, saying “this is a confidential personnel matter.”

Bramblett declined to discuss any further details. “This is an ongoing investigation,” Bramblett said. “This is not public information.”

Barbara Boulware, chairman of the library trustees, which employs the library’s director, could not be reached Monday for comment.

Rookard said she will be investigating the allegations against Pappas with the board. “Once I report my findings, the library board will determine the next phase,” Rookard said.

Some of the allegations listed in the email include:

▪  Pappas refused to give York County employees cost-of-living raises in a timely manner and threatened disciplinary action against employees who inquired about their raises;

▪  Pappas created new positions for “her personal friends” and filled them without following normal hiring practices;

▪  Pappas refused to adquately address staff concerns about “inappropriate behavior from library patrons” and she placed “blame on the employees who were being harassed”;

▪  Pappas employed an “unqualified bookkeeper” who serves as de facto finance manager and who “has made numerous errors related to benefits and retirement programs.”

The email also alleges violations of federal equal opportunity hiring practices, discrimination, threats to employees, illegal hiring practices and “a hostile work environment.”

Jennifer Becknell: 803-329-4077

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