Monisa Ramseur, interim director of the East Cleveland Public Library, is in intensive care at the Cleveland Clinic. Sources on the library board think that Ramseur has suffered a cerebral aneurysm.
The news comes at a pivotal point for the ECPL board. That body has lately been home to little more than turmoil and finger-pointing. But as of a meeting Monday, at which the recalcitrant members William Fambrough and Devin Branch were not present, the board said they felt like they were entering a new, calmer, more respectful era.
Ramseur attended Monday's meeting, and Scene spoke with her directly before. During that interview, she speculated that the board might vote to reinstate former Director Sheba Marcus-Bey (which did not happen, but may yet at a meeting Thursday, in which personnel items are on the agenda).
Ramseur said she hoped only that whoever is in charge abides by the policies and procedures which govern the library: personnel policies for the ECPL specifically, and statewide best practices from the Ohio Library Council.
"It's all been political," Ramseur told Scene, describing the past few months. "Policies were not being followed. It's my stance that it doesn't matter who's in charge, as long as they treat everyone fairly."
As interim director, Ramseur has tried to stay above the fray, but was still attacked during a contentious board meeting on March 17 both during and after a lengthy report which indexed her views on some of the library's most serious problems and took certain board members to task for their lack of transparency and accountability.
Board member Dr. Mary Rice told Scene, after Monday's meeting, that the new board, which has been officially recognized (once again) by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's office, is a "total difference" from the situation under Fambrough.
"I think we definitely have a chemistry where we can treat each other with respect," she said. "It's no longer where half of the board members know what's going on and the other half have no idea."
She said that even the public — who had time to comment, at last — sensed a new "spirit" in the room.
Rice, however, was distraught when she found out about Ramseur yesterday afternoon. She said that she and other board members are trying to get information about her condition, but at this point they're all operating on hearsay.
Rice did sign a check for the ECPL's new liability insurance policy, which president Charles Bibb reportedly refused to sign, even when given an ultimatum. Ramseur and Rice both found the policy's new, higher deductible "exorbitant," but are grateful that the library is now covered.
Bibb, who refused to recognize the legitimacy of Monday's meeting, called his own meeting Tuesday which Fambrough attended. It's unknown what they discussed.
Here's the National Institute of Health's fact sheet about cerebral aneurysms, and here's Scene's cover story this week about East Cleveland, which includes a section about the recent discord of the library board.