Hashtag: East Cleveland Public Library. Hashtag: Moving Forward


UPDATE: Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Monday ruled that William Fambrough and Devin Branch cannot legally be removed from office by the East Cleveland School Board.

"Branch and Fambrough can only be removed by court proceedings initiated by a written complaint signed by 15 percent of local voters in the last gubernatorial election," the NEOMG reported.

That means that Otis "O" Mays and Arlene Anderson, appointed to replace Branch and Fambrough, are now no longer official board members. Sheesh.

Board member Dr. Mary Rice told Scene in a phone interview Monday morning that Devin Branch hasn't attended a board meeting in months.

Ousted East Cleveland Public Library Director Sheba Marcus Bey has been reinstated by the Library’s Board after a vote last week. Marcus Bey, who was dismissed without cause in December, is eager to move forward and begin repairing the trust and credibility she says the library may have lost over the past few months.

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Marcus Bey told Scene in a phone interview Friday. “But I’m confident that the board and myself can work as a team. I wouldn’t have come back if I didn’t think so.”

Though the library’s board is slowly returning to an era of smoother operations, William Fambrough continues to be a poisonous force. He’s the ongoing source and subject of much of the board’s controversy and has been explicitly instructed by the East Cleveland School Board and by County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty that he is no longer a legal member. Still, he refuses to vacate his seat. He orchestrated the removal of Marcus Bey in the first place and was the lone dissenting vote last week.

Board member Dr. Mary Rice said that though questions still remain about the legality of Fambrough’s trusteeship, Fambrough doesn’t think East Cleveland will take the matter to court, so he’s not going anywhere.

“He’s set,” Rice said. "We're gathering data and information to decide where we take it from here."

But even Charlie Bibb, the former Fambrough teamster, voted to reinstate Marcus Bey.

“There has been a power shift on this board,” said Rice. “Bibb saw the handwriting on the wall.”

Sheba Marcus Bey, for her part, said that she wants to bring back professionalism to the operations of the library. She said she feels that the political infighting has damaged people’s perceptions of the institution (a view she shares with this publication and many residents of East Cleveland).

Three weeks ago, Interim Director Monisa Ramseur said she felt the same way. She’s now recovering from an unspecified injury that took her to Cleveland Clinic’s intensive care unit. (Two sources said they thought Ramseur’s injury was a cerebral hemorrhage, but that has not been confirmed.)

For Marcus Bey, improving communications and further defining the roles of the Executive Director and the Board will be high on her priority list.

“We need to serve the public,” Marcus Bey said, “and that means figuring out how to dance this dance.”

Rice said that the board is now “unwaveringly” committed to squaring up the library’s finances and improving programming.

“We are elated with Sheba Marcus Bey,” said Rice, “and we’re confided that she will take this library in the right direction.”

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Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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