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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Library employees honored for organizing against library restructuring

Left to right: Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova, Charles Keener, Jennifer McCullough, and Employees Advisory Council Vice Chair Avery Dotson.
Fairfax County Public Libraries employees Charles Keener and Jennifer McCullough are the 2013 recipients of Don Smith Awards in recognition of their grassroots efforts to support library employees over the past few months.

The awards were presented at the Board of Supervisors meeting Jan. 28 by the Fairfax County Employees Advisory Council (EAC). The awards recognize employees who have contributed in an outstanding manner to the well-being of fellow employees. The EAC established the awards program in 1991 to honor longtime county employee and EAC member Don Smith.

Honorable mention awards were presented to Sharron Cayere, of the Fire and Rescue Department, who spent volunteer hours helping fellow employees prepare and train for work performance exams, and Joseph Wilhelm, of the Facilities Management Division, who volunteers as a mediator in the county’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Program and also brings employees together outside the workplace for softball games and other activities. 

Keener, a library information assistant at the Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library, and McCullough, a youth services assistant at Patrick Henry Library, each received an engraved plaque and a $500 check from the EAC. The honorable mention awardees each received $250.

“Charles and Jennifer were instrumental in putting together a grassroots effort to oppose the library reorganization plan known as the Beta Plan,” said Vicki Kammerude, EAC historian/secretary, at the awards ceremony. “They did so in the face of criticism and threatening comments to their positions. They organized the workforce, exposed the plan for what it was, and ultimately prevailed.”

“Their countless hours of support for the library employees and dedication to their colleagues in more than eight public hearings has made a dramatic impact on the library staff as a whole,” Kammerude said. As president of the Fairfax County Public Library Employees Association, McCullough “was able to bring the Board of Supervisors, library management, and employees to the table to discuss the proposed restructuring.”

“These awards prove once again that union members are dedicated to delivering great public services and improving the lives of working families,” says a statement from SIEU Virginia 512, the union that represents county employees. Keener, McCullough, and Wilhelm are all members of the Fairfax County Government Employees Union. Wilhelm is acting president of the FCGEU, and McCullough is a board member.

In related news, the Reston Citizens Association named Kathy Kaplan the 2013 Reston Citizen of the Year in recognition for her work in publicizing the negative impacts of the Beta plan, budget cuts to the library system, proposals to downgrade library employees, and the discovery of thousands of library books in dumpsters.


  1. AWESOMENESS!! We love our libraries!!!!

  2. It's great to see people honored for stepping and doing the right thing!

  3. How wonderful! I worked for FCPL for many years and have had the pleasure of knowing Charles for many years. I have always been impressed by his dedication to the Library and the Citizens of Fairfax County. He is the finest example of the kind of employee that FCPL should cherish. Anita Ramos