“I thought the phone would never stop ringing,” Kay Peppard said in an interview Monday, about the support she has received from the community after taking early retirement from her position as the director of the Lincoln County Public Library. “Thank God for all of the good people of Lincoln County and their good wishes and concern,” she added.
Peppard said that she is obviously disappointed with what she sees as the Library Executive Board’s implied ultimatum for her to either accept early retirement or be fired. “They called me into their meeting and said, “Kay, we want you to retire.” How else would anyone see that? I saw it as a choice between retirement or being fired. They can pretend all they want that it wasn’t,” she said.
Peppard said that her relationship with the board began to go downhill when she resisted building the county’s new $4 million library on the site that was selected. Peppard felt that the downtown location was too small for the proposed building and advocated a two-acre site in the northwest part of Stanford. “I was more interested in building a library that was functional first, then beautiful,” she said.
Peppard had served the county for 17 years before accepting early retirement and is disappointed that she did not get to finish her planned career. “I saw myself working here for 25 years,” she said. By accepting the offer of early retirement, Peppard’s compensation is only a quarter of what she would have earned if she had stayed in the job until fully qualified for retirement.
Peppard remains characteristically upbeat about leaving the library. “It has been the best thing for me mentally and physically because it had really become intolerable,” she said. “I’m ready to get on with my life,” she added.
Peppard’s departure precipitated the resignation of two board members. Executive Board Trustee Gladys Burnside, who served on the library board for almost a quarter of a century, resigned by letter last week, and Advisory Board member Keith Lemons resigned as well, saying “I am handing in my resignation because of the treatment and humiliation you subjected Kay to. No one should have to go through that. I can’t condone it any longer, therefore I am resigning.”