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Metro Council discussion on EBR Library Board of Control ends in argument, racism accusations

1 month 1 day 21 hours ago Wednesday, June 12 2024 Jun 12, 2024 June 12, 2024 10:27 PM June 12, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE – A motion to replace or reappoint a current member of the East Baton Rouge Library Board of Control ended with an unclear conclusion and heated arguments among Metro Council members Wednesday.

The choice for Metro Council members was between Nicole Allmon-Learson and Garrett Deschamp. Allmon-Learson has served on the board for six years, and her four-year term expired in May. Metro Council members could either reappoint or replace the board member.

When the decision went up for a vote, several board members voted in favor of Garrett Deschamp. Council members who voted in favor of Allmon-Learson accused the others of voting based on race. Nicole Allmon-Learson is a Black woman and Garrett Deschamp is a white man. Metro Councilwoman Chauna Banks said the voting patterns were extreme and racist, and Allmon-Learson was more than qualified to serve.

Metro Councilman Aaron Moak disagreed with the accusation, saying it was wrong to accuse other members of racism based on votes.

"I know that the makeup of the council is different, but to claim every time that a vote just doesn't go a certain way that it's nothing but racist, I think is appalling,” Moak said.

Metro Councilwoman Jen Racca chimed in saying she’d previously voted in favor of Allmon-Learson.

"I don't understand why this has to be the narrative every time a vote doesn't go a certain way," she said.

After the heated discussion, Darryl Hurst, who also serves on the Library Board of Control, referred to other library leadership for input on Allmon-Learson’s job performance and qualifications. Colleagues said she was on the board which helped the library win accolades statewide.

Eventually, the motion to vote was deferred, but it is unclear when or if changes will be made.

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