First Asian Library Board Member Removed

Douglas Hwee

The Great Neck Library Board of Trustees voted to remove Douglas Hwee from its board at the Tuesday, July 25, meeting.

Hwee won Varda Solomon’s Great Neck Library expiring Board of Trustees seat as an Independent Candidate on Oct. 31, 2016, with 275 votes. Solomon, the Nominating Committee candidate, received 218 votes.

The four-year term was supposed to run from January 2017 to January 2021. Hwee took office at the Library Association Annual Reorganization Meeting just six months ago on Jan. 17.

No details of Hwee’s removal have been released.

“A statement will not be made as it is a personnel issue,” a library representative said.

The Great Neck Chinese Association (GNCA) reacted to Hwee’s removal since he was active in getting members of the community involved.

“The Board of the Great Neck Chinese Association (GNCA) has been made aware of the recent removal of Mr. Douglas Hwee from the Great Neck Public Library Board of Trustees,” the organization said in a statement. “We are also aware of the strong reactions from some members of our community because Mr. Hwee was not only the first Asian American elected to the board, but also had been active in getting our members involved with the library affairs.”

The Great Neck Library Board of Trustees also unanimously voted to authorize the April 28 termination of Executive Library Director Kathy Giotsas at a special Board of Trustees meeting that lasted only three minutes at the Main Library on Monday, May 1. Assistant Director Tracy Geiser assumed the position of interim director of the Great Neck Library effective May 1.

The Nominating Committee just released the names of the candidates it has endorsed to fill two seats on the Great Neck Library Board of Trustees and two seats on the Nominating Committee that will be expiring in January 2018.

For the Board of Trustees four-year term from January 2018–22, in the seat currently held by Michael Fuller, the Nominating Committee endorsed candidate Dr. Barry Smith. For the second seat, which is currently held by Marietta DiCamillo and also runs from January 2018–22, the committee has endorsed candidate Weihua Yan.

For the Nominating Committee three-year term from January 2018–21, Chang Ye has been endorsed for Marie Franzoni’s seat and candidate Samuel Gottlieb has been endorsed for Omer Soykan’s seat.

In accordance with the bylaws of the Great Neck Library, the deadline for filing of petitions for independent nominations for these same positions is Aug. 15. Petition forms are available in the director’s office during regular business hours.

After Hwee’s removal, another board seat will now have to be filled.

“GNCA will continue to monitor the development of this event and its impact on our community,” the organization noted.

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