Bay County Library Board of Trustees Member Reappointed With Overwhelming Support

The Bay County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday under heavy scrutiny from community members regarding a Bay County Library Board of Trustees appointment.

Current trustee Paul Travis and community member Morgan Jackson applied for the position, which was decided at the meeting following a lengthy public comment period. Several members of the public spoke in favor of Travis over Jackson, who some claim has made discriminatory statements about the homeless on social media, reflecting statements by another library Board of Trustees member, Douglas Stone.

Stone has spoken out against homeless people getting library cards when they have no permanent address, or using library wash facilities to get clean. He is recorded in library board minutes as saying anyone who does not have business in the libraries should not be there, even reiterating those sentiments in a recent interview with the Bay City Times.

One of the residents speaking in favor of Travis’ reappointment was Katelyn Day, who urged the commission to “represent the best interest of this community today, and maintaining the integrity of the library by reappointing Paul Travis.”

Also speaking was Amy Hoerauf: “Mr. Travis has been a board member in good standing, serving for several years as chairman. He’s a retired educator and understands the importance of having a library system that serves our entire community.” Hoerauf applied for a library trustee position in 2023, but the board chose Stone. She says she’s also concerned with comments he’s made regarding unhoused people using the library system.

Starting the public comment period was Bay County Commissioner Tim Banaszak of the Second District, speaking as a private citizen during the public comment period. Banaszak didn’t endorese either of the trustee candidates, but kept his remarks solely for the comments made by Stone.

“Doug Stone’s call for increased discrimination against the homeless population is utterly unacceptable… Denying access (to a public library) based on a person’s economic situation is both morally and legally indefensible.” In his statement, Banaszak called for the immediate resignation of Stone from the Library Board of Trustees.

In the end, the Board of Commissioners voted unanimously, 6-0, to reappoint Travis to the Board of Trustees. His term will be up in 2029.