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Amid LGBTQ+ library book controversy, Siloam Springs fires its city admin

The Siloam Springs Board of Directors terminated former City Administrator Phillip Patterson's contract amid controversy over LGBTQ+ library books.

SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. — On Tuesday, March 7, the Siloam Springs Board of Directors voted to terminate the contract of Phillip Paterson as the City Administrator.

The vote was 4-3, with a simple majority voting for the termination.

Prior to Patterson’s firing during the meeting, he told the board of directors that he had checked out multiple books from the city’s library after a concerned citizen was upset about their content.

The controversy surrounding library books begin after the concerned citizen claimed the books were inappropriate. The books have been in former City Administrator Phillip Patterson’s office ever since.

Before his firing Tuesday, Patterson told the city board that staff was already working on a policy to address situations like this.

“We are currently drafting the policy for selection, retention, and relocation slash removal,” said Patterson.

Derrek Arce who lives in Siloam says he found the books that he calls "highly sexual" in the children’s and young adult sections after his daughter brought them to his attention.

“It's upsetting because I want my kids, I want other kids to be able to go to a library and parents not have to be overly concerned about what kind of content their kids are getting when they're in kids sections,” said Derrek Arce.

Arce wants to see these books removed from circulation at the library.

“It's not good for any community to be pushing such a radical view and agenda on kids rather than letting them be kids and learn and explore in ways that I think are a lot healthier, and I guess more morally upstanding,” he said.

Siloam Springs resident Chaney Maysack spoke out during Tuesday’s meeting saying he felt Patterson stepped outside of his authority by removing the books from circulation.

“It is our community's privilege and responsibility to protect our freedoms, especially the freedoms and rights of our community that find themselves in the minority. And this does include the LGBTQ. And the truth is this is an issue that concerns families of Siloam— parents play a role in what their children read, the biggest role and it's their right to choose what's important for their family,” said Chaney Maysack.

We know the former city administrator still has the books checked out in his name. But again, the City of Siloam Springs has not shared why he was fired. City officials said in a statement that under state law the board may terminate the city administrator's employment at any time, with or without cause.

Finance Director Christina Petriches was named as the board's choice for interim city administrator in another 4-3 vote. Initially, there was a motion calling for Police Chief Allan Gilbert to serve in the interim position but he declined the responsibility.

5NEWS will update this story as more information becomes available.

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