Teton County Library

Dail Barbour, the library board member the Teton County Board of County Commissioners “removed” in a closed, executive session earlier this month, is looking for more information about why.

Legal action is also on the table, though it’s unclear what direction Barbour will take next.

Letters the former county commissioner and Teton County Library facilities manager wrote to the current commission Nov. 18 were made public in the board’s Wednesday correspondence report, a biweekly amalgamation of public comment sent to commissioners attached to the agenda ahead of a regular meeting. The board’s next regular meeting, where public comment will be taken both in person and virtually, is scheduled for 9 a.m. Dec. 1.

“I am sending you this letter in lieu of resorting to litigation,” Barbour wrote.

Barbour submitted a public records request and asked for a list of who was present at the public meeting and the closed, executive session the day she was removed. She also asked for the commission to “show cause and provide evidence” supporting its decision.

Wyoming statute 18-7-103© gives commissioners the authority to “remove” a library board member for “misconduct or neglect of duty.” Barbour referred to the commission’s action as an “ultra vires action” — one taken by a government body that’s outside its legal authority — and argued that it was “null and void” in part because the board did not explain how she had “not lived up to the requirements” in statute.

“Your letter of November 9, 2020, cites this statute, but merely using the phrase ‘pursuant to’ doesn’t make it true,” Barbour wrote. “Evidence is required. Where evidence is required in a proceeding that affects my standing as a Library Board member, I have a right to hear it and cross-examine it. I have had neither.”

She called that “plain old bad form,” asked for her letter to be presented to Teton County Attorney Erin Weisman, and requested a response by Wednesday.

In her letter, Barbour suggested that a response from the county by then could lead to a resolution “without having to rely on a judge.” In absence of a response, Barbour said, one of the two options she saw was to “round up a legal team, seek an injunction to block you from filling my seat, and file a complaint in the District Court to force you to comply with the law.”

Weisman did not return requests for comment by press time.

Barbour did — and said the direction she’ll take remains to be seen.

“I did receive a response, but it is not clear,” she told the Jackson Hole Daily. “I’m going to follow up, and I’m considering my next options.”

Contact Billy Arnold at 732-7063 or barnold@jhnewsandguide.com.

Teton County Reporter

Previously the Scene editor, Billy Arnold made the switch to the county beat where he's interested in exploring Teton County as a model for the rest of the West. When he can, he still writes about art, music and whatever else suits his fancy.

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