Lafayette Parish Library Board President Submits Surprise Resignation
LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL News) - Robert Judge, the Lafayette Library Board President at the center of several controversies in the parish library system, has resigned from his role.
The Acadiana Advocate is reporting that Judge submitted his resignation as board president on Monday afternoon, effective the end of the day. No reason was given for his resignation.
However, the board was recently facing a lawsuit after firing the previous library director in a closed meeting - in violation of open meeting laws.
According to The Advocate, Judge's term was set to end on October 31. He is not resigning from the board, just from being the board president. He was appointed in February 2021.
Judge was appointed to the volunteer library board in February 2021. He was nominated by Lafayette Parish Councilman Josh Carlson from among a field of seven highly qualified candidates that included educators. Carlson and Councilmen John Guilbeau and Bryan Tabor voted for Judge's appointment to the library board.
He almost immediately pushed a controversial ultra conservative agenda, starting in April 2021 by trying to change the library system's mission statement to remove "recreation and cultural enrichment" programs.
In October of 2021, the library board voted Judge president, reelecting him for a second year-long term in 2022.
Before Judge was appointed to the library board, he was a vocal opponent in 2018 to a proposed Drag Queen Story Time that was scheduled but eventually not held at the library. Stephanie Armbruster, who was appointed to the library board in August 2020, also protested Drag Queen Story Time.
A conservative group, Citizens for a New Louisiana, says that Judge has so frequently been in the crosshairs because of progressives targeting him and the library board.
But those same groups have attacked Judge and the library board over what they see as censorship and the banning of books in the library. The drama between the two sides has kept the public library in the spotlight in ways it hadn't been before.
The firing and subsequent un-firing of Director Danny Gillane, who was allowed to resign instead, were among the last official acts Judge made that drew headlines. But Gillane told The Advocate he believes he was fired because Judge does not want a Northeast Library to be built.
Despite his proclamations otherwise, Gillane said, Library Board President Robert Judge doesn’t want the Northeast Regional library built.
Asked Thursday, as he was racing from a meeting, Judge said he does want the Northeast Regional Library built.
When he couldn’t get a second on a motion to lease space, he voted against buying the land, just before going into executive session for Gillane’s annual review where he was terminated.
Judge will remain with the board, though local activists are calling for the Lafayette Parish Council to vote to remove him from the board entirely.