Minnesota library head can’t run facilities from Los Angeles

December 24, 2021 GMT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Hennepin County officials have adopted a new policy prohibiting the director of Minneapolis’ libraries from running the facilities from Los Angeles.

Chad Helton was hired in 2020 and moved to Los Angeles this summer, saying he could run the libraries through video conferencing. His stance has rankled library staff, their unions and taxpayers.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Thursday that county officials adopted a new policy on Dec. 17 that mandates supervisors whose workers interact with the public must live in Minnesota. Workers who live in Wisconsin are exempt.

The mandate takes effect Jan. 31. Helton didn’t respond to the Star Tribune’s requests for comment.

The county’s chief human resources officer, Michael Rossman, is the only other high-ranking county official who lives and works outside of Minnesota or Wisconsin. He has been living and working in Palm Springs, California, since the beginning of 2021. His staff doesn’t interact directly with the public but he would still be subject to the new residency policy, the Star Tribune reported.

ADVERTISEMENT

Carolyn Marinan, a county spokesperson, said she had communicated with Rossman and he was considering his options.

Both Helton and Rossman could seek exemptions from the requirement. County Administrator David Hough declined to say whether he would grant them or what would happen if he refused to issue them.