Little has been said about the Hennepin County Library Director, Chad Helton, who moved to Los Angeles during the COVID-19 pandemic. He announced last year that he had no intention of returning to the Twin Cities and said that he could direct the county’s 41 libraries remotely. It was only when union leaders started squawking that we learned of this, ahem, unique arrangement, which apparently caught everyone who works in the 24 stories of the Hennepin County Government Center by surprise.
According to the Star Tribune, Helton, whose annual salary is $183,855, was hired in 2020 after heading the Los Angeles Public Library system’s branch locations. He returned to Los Angeles under the county’s policy permitting employees to work from home remotely during the pandemic, saying at the time that his move was permanent.
Mr. Helton resigned his position two months ago and that the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners signed a settlement agreement where county taxpayers would pay him $60,000 for “emotional damages”, $15,000 to his St. Paul legal team and provide him with paid health insurance through the rest of 2022. That’s roughly $85,000 taxpayer dollars to clean up this mess.
There has been no public disclosure on what, if any, part of this settlement, he forgoes if he becomes the library director somewhere else. He reportedly was a finalist for the same position in Seattle but it was announced earlier this month the Library in the Pacific Northwest went another direction. Helton interviewed for the Seattle position while living in Los Angeles while being paid by Hennepin County taxpayers.
You can’t make it up.
Once again, it matters who we elect. In this case, it’s the same people responsible for the Southwest Light Rail catastrophe.