Sonoma County library chief semi-finalist for Louisiana job

  • Sandra Cooper (PD FILE, 2012)

Embattled Sonoma County Library Director Sandra Cooper confirmed Wednesday that she is a semi-finalist for a similar job in East Baton Rouge Parish in Louisiana.

Cooper said she applied for the position two weeks ago after the June 28 release of a scathing grand jury report that called her an “unresponsive” leader who “undermines the spirit” of the 1975 joint powers agreement that created the county's modern library system.

But Cooper on Wednesday insisted that her application had nothing to do with the critical report.

“It's not the grand jury report because the grand jury report is so inaccurate,” she said.

She said she also doesn't feel like her job in Sonoma County is in jeopardy as a result of the grand jury's findings.

“No, because it's not,” she said.

The Advocate newspaper in Baton Rouge first reported Wednesday that Cooper is one of five semi-finalists for director of the parish's library system. A search committee is scheduled to interview her this Saturday via Skype.

Cooper informed Julia Freis, chairwoman of Sonoma County's Library Commission, of her job application. Cooper then notified the group's other six members after she was contacted by the media.

Freis said if Cooper were to depart “it would be a loss for Sonoma County.”

“Despite some of the issues that have arisen, she is a very good director,” Freis said.

Asked whether she thought the grand jury report prompted Cooper's job search, Freis replied, “I would guess that being continually insulted publicly over and over again might have had something to do with it.”

The grand jury report's basic premise was that Cooper rules by fiat and by micro-managing with the commission going along with whatever she wants.

That view was contested in the commission's draft response to the grand jury that was posted to the commission's website on Tuesday. Freis said the 15-page document was written by her and Cooper, with input from Tim May, the commission's vice-chairman.

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