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IndyPL CEO Search 2022

The Indianapolis Public Library's CEO search concluded with a declined offer by the chosen candidate. This page will be updated when the search resumes.

IndyPL CEO Search 2022

About the Search

The Indianapolis Public Library Board of Trustees is excited to find the next leader of its library system, which serves approximately 900,000 patrons in Marion County and a staff of over 570 employees. A diverse CEO Search Committee, detailed below, worked with the Board's Diversity, Policy & HR Committee to bring top candidates to the full library board for consideration. Finalists then delivered public presentations to staff and the community, met with Library leadership, and interviewed with the Board of Trustees in closed meetings. An offer was made on December 8 to the candidate with a majority of board support, and declined by that candidate on December 9. The search is currently paused until the Library Board determines its next steps.

More details are below and will be added to this page as the search continues.


What is the timeline for this search?
  • The search was initially intended to start in September of 2021 when the previous CEO’s tenure ended. Because we were at the start of the Climate Improvement Process (CIP), the Library Board decided to wait for the results and conclusions from the surveys and staff focus groups prior to formally initiating the search.
  • In preparation for the CEO search, an agreement was approved by the Board at the January 24, 2022 regular Board meeting to select Bradbury Miller Associates as a search consultant that specializes in nationwide library executive placements.
  • On March 23, the CIP results were shared publicly in a special Board meeting.
  • On April 1, the Library Board appointed Nichelle Hayes to replace John Helling as Interim CEO upon his departure.
  • On April 28, the first CEO Search Committee meeting took place. This committee included members of the Board’s Diversity, HR & Policy Committee; DEI officer; union president; staff association president; two Library volunteers; and several community members with varied professional backgrounds (detailed below). This group was charged with working with the search consultant to determine as a group which candidates should be included in an initial round of interviews, and further to recommend 3-4 finalist candidates for board consideration after those interviews took place. This recommendation of finalists would be the conclusion of their part of the process.
  • On May 16, the CEO position was posted and was “live” for recruitment. The search consultant initiated a national search.
  • On July 5, it was determined by the search consultant and search committee chair that the search would be extended due to limited qualified applicants.
  • On August 25, the CEO position was reposted with an increased pay range and adjusted experience credentials, in hopes of achieving a broader candidate pool.
  • On October 5, the CEO search committee met to review candidate applications and determine who would be asked to interview for the position. They selected seven, and one of the candidates chose to remove themself from the process before the interviews took place.
  • On October 24 and 25, the CEO search committee met in an executive session to conduct virtual interviews with six candidates. Upon concluding those interviews, reviewing resumes and questionnaire info from candidates, and deliberating as a group, three candidates were recommended to the Library Board to proceed as finalists.
  • Prior to the public presentation and finalist interview dates, the current employer of one of the three candidates was contacted and told that this candidate was considering the IndyPL CEO position, and the candidate chose to remove themself from the process. An investigation is underway to determine who on the search committee breached the confidentiality of that group and shared information.
  • Nichelle M. Hayes and Dr. Gabriel Morley met with EC and extended Library leadership (which consisted of IndyPL standing staff committee chairpersons or designees, staff association representative, and union representative) on November 30, prior to giving their public presentations. Each member of EC and extended leadership was asked to provide individual evaluations (anonymously) of each candidate, and these were supplied in their entirety to the full Board for consideration. These evaluations included a scaled response and also a free response section. On December 1 each candidate took turns privately interviewing with the entire Board of Trustees in an executive session. The Board then convened for several hours to deliberate their decision as a group.
  • Board members took the weekend to continue to personally review resumes, notes, candidate experience, reference feedback, public/staff survey results, scoring by the search committee, staff leadership feedback, EC feedback, and reflect on their own interactions with the candidates. Board members as a group and individually also received a great deal of feedback via the contact form advocating for and against candidates.
  • The Board reconvened in an executive session on Monday, December 5, for several more hours to continue their discussion about how to proceed. Despite a lack of consensus, four Board members expressed a position in favor of offering the position to Dr. Gabriel Morley, which is enough for a quorum, and the board concluded the meeting. A public board meeting was scheduled for December 8 to vote on a resolution to appoint Dr. Morley as CEO.
  • On December 8, the board approved a resolution to appoint Morley as CEO by a vote of 4-2 with one abstention. This resolution simultaneously concluded Nichelle Hayes’ appointment as interim CEO. In order of succession, this meant that interim Chief Public Services Officer, Gregory Hill, would serve as acting CEO until Dr. Morley would start, which was expected to only be a few days.
  • On December 9, Dr. Morley declined the offer. Gregory Hill will remain as acting CEO until the Board appoints another interim or permanent CEO.
What priorities are the search committee using to evaluate candidates?

When this process began, surveys were available for the Indianapolis community, IndyPL staff, and the IndyPL Board of Trustees to share areas of importance for the CEO search. These priority areas will be used to evaluate candidates, and include the following:

  • Communication
  • Strategic Planning
  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Budget Management
  • Community
  • Intellectual Freedom
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Experience
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Board Experience
Why the delay in the process?

After initially posting the position in May of 2022, the Search Committee wanted a larger pool of qualified candidates to choose from and decided to repost the position. The Board wanted to hear from the Search Firm, Bradbury Miller Associates (BMA), about how the process could be different and what recommendations they had to improve the posting in order to gain more traction. During the Board Meeting on July 22, BMA presented the plan to repost the position with a more competitive salary range and broader qualifications. The position has been re-posted and is now closed, and the expectation is that the new CEO will start by December 2022 or January 2023.

How was the pay grade determined?

Due to the current market, The Indianapolis Public Library is reviewing all paygrades. The CEO job announcement reflects the new paygrade for 2023.

CEO Search Committee

In April of 2022, the IndyPL Board of Trustees' Diversity, Policy & HR Committee formed a CEO Search Committee to assist in determining top candidates to bring forward to the full Board of Trustees. This committee is working with contracted search firm Bradbury Miller Associates to screen, vet, and conduct initial interviews with candidates. The committee consists of the following members:

Board Diversity, Policy & HR Committee Members:

  • Hope Tribble (Chairperson)
  • Curtis Bigsbee
  • Pat Payne

Library Staff Members:

  • Keesha Hughes - Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer (no longer with IndyPL)
  • Alexandria Moore - Staff Association President and Interim Branch Manager, Garfield Park Branch Library
  • Michael Torres - AFSCME Local 3395 Union President and Public Services Associate II, Central Library

Community Patron Members:

  • Dr. Dwight Burlingame - Professor Emeritus of Philanthropic Studies, IUPUI Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
  • Christia Hicks - IndyPL Foundation Board Member and Chief Human Resources Officer, Eskenazi Health
  • Monroe Gray - City-County Councilor, Municipal Corporations Committee Chair
  • Matt Nowlin - Community Analysis Manager, The Polis Center
  • Dr. Lisa Riolo
  • J. Kevin Ryan - Retired CEO, Financial Center First Credit Union
  • Dr. Samuel Snideman - Director of Policy, Indiana Department of Workforce Development
  • Gail Thomas Strong - VP Community Engagement, WFYI Public Media

Additional Staff and Contracted Support (non-voting):

  • Tisha Galarce - Interim Human Resources Director, IndyPL
  • Joe Backe - Communications Director, IndyPL
  • Garrett Mason - Strategic Planning & Assessment Officer, IndyPL
  • Russell Brown - Legal Counsel, Clark, Quinn, Moses, Scott & Grahn, LLP
  • Robert Scott - Legal Counsel, Clark, Quinn, Moses, Scott & Grahn, LLP
  • Karen Miller - Search Firm, Bradbury Miller Associates
  • Brian Hare - Search Firm, Bradbury Miller Associates
  • Briana Trudell - Search Firm, Bradbury Miller Associates