Friday, December 01, 2023

Library director apologizes for job search

Daily Inter Lake | December 2, 2022 12:00 AM

ImagineIF Director Ashley Cummins apologized to the library’s board of trustees Thursday following the public revelation of her application for another job in Oregon after a stressful first few months in the position.

Cummins addressed trustees during her director’s report at their December board meeting.

The Flathead Beacon last month reported on emails that revealed Cummins was recruited for a director’s position in Seaside, Oregon. The Seaside Signal covered a meet-and-greet with residents of that community wherein Cummins described ImagineIF as becoming a flashpoint amid worsening culture wars. She told residents it has been a stressful time in Flathead County.

At the board’s Dec. 1 meeting, Cummins said the job opportunity did not work out and that she wanted to apologize for how the Beacon’s article “painted the board in a very bad light.”

‘She said it made it seem like the board was the biggest factor in her deciding to take the job interview, adding that her position in Flathead County has been difficult for multiple reasons.

“Contrary to popular belief, the board is kind of low on my list of those [reasons],” Cummins said. “It's just been a lot. So I wanted to kind of apologize to you all.”

She said the interview opportunity came up on a “really bad day.”

“I looked at it as a vacation and you know, maybe I'll make a lot more money,” she said. “But otherwise, it was definitely not personal for you all, just a bad decision at the time, so I’m sorry for that.”

Cummins said she plans to stay with ImagineIF “as long as she can.”

Board trustees thanked Cummins for her public explanation. Trustee Carmen Cuthbertson told her she understood the decision to pursue the job opportunity.

“I think I totally understand that as an expression of utter frustration with everything that's been swirling around you. I think it was unfortunate, but I totally understand it. And I want you to know that I think you're doing an excellent job, and you have my full support, even after this unfortunate choice,” Cuthbertson said.

Trustee Heidi Roedel agreed, adding that her public explanation went a long way toward clearing up the confusion surrounding news of Cummins’ interest in leaving Northwest Montana.

“We do really appreciate you and all that you've done. It just seems like every month there's problems being resolved,” Roedel said.

Vice Chair David Ingram said he’s had a private conversation with Cummins about the job search, but wanted to publicly express his support and understanding for “the episode that happened.”

Cracking wise, Board Chair Doug Adams told Cummins they were happy to work with her “for at least the remainder of her sentence.”

Reporter Taylor Inman can be reached at

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