MADEIRA BEACH — The embattled Gulf Beaches Public Library may soon have a new head librarian.
The post has been vacant since former library director Jan Horah was fired in November.
Late last week, the library's board of directors offered the job to Maggie Cinnella, who formerly served as the library's assistant director, reference librarian and youth services librarian.
Cinnella left the Madeira Beach-based library in 2006 after working there for more than five years. She currently serves as the technical services librarian at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. She holds a master of arts degree in library and information science from the University of South Florida.
If Cinnella formally accepts the library board's offer of a $50,000 salary, she is expected to begin her new job April 15.
Cinnella will replace Horah, who had served as the library's director since 1999 and earned a $69,436 salary.
Horah has filed a lawsuit against the library contesting her firing. A civil rights complaint filed by Harriet Thompkins, the library's former assistant director and reference librarian, is also pending. Thompkins was fired when her position was eliminated as a budget cutting measure.
Horah's firing came amid building criticism of her management and excessive absences from elected officials in the five towns the library serves — Treasure Island, Madeira Beach, Redington Beach, North Redington Beach and Redington Shores.
Treasure Island complained that Horah repeatedly failed to give them financial and membership information during their summer budget workshops. The city first refused to budget its annual $107,000 funding of the library, but later reinstated part of that funding.
The financial turmoil forced the library's board of trustees to redo its budget to make up for the revenue shortfall. The library cut its hours, reduced its staff and made other budget cuts.
In November, Treasure Island decided to rejoin the library system, albeit at a sharply reduced level of financial support.
Since then, a committee of the member town mayors has yet to address just how much each town should contribute to the library's operation and how easily the towns can withdraw from the financing arrangement.