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Geneva Library Director Talks About Depression, Takes Assistant Director Role

"During most of November and half of December, I have been on leave dealing with the challenges of depression and anxiety,” Matt Teske says.

Matt Teske
Matt Teske
Geneva Library Director Matt Teske resigned from the top spot and took an assistant director's position Wednesday, citing the personal reasons that led to a seven-week leave of absence.

Teske read aloud his resignation letter at Wednesday's special Library Board meeting, according to reports in the Kane County Chronicle, Daily Herald and Chicago Tribune.

"During most of November and half of December, I have been on leave dealing with the challenges of depression and anxiety,” he told the board.

Teske missed a good portion of November and December in order to undergo treatment.

“Since that time, I have made huge inroads in dealing with these issues and am in a much better position emotionally today than I was in early November," he said. "I have come to the conclusion that the position of library director is not a good fit for me right now."

Library Board members accepted his resignation and appointed him to an assistant director's position in a 6-1 vote. Trustee Susan Shivers cast the dissenting vote, citing the expenses associated with hiring an interim director and keeping two assistant directors on staff until Assistant Director Peggy Carlson retires June 27.

Teske's resignation as library director goes into effect on Jan. 27, the Tribune said. 

The board moved forward with hiring Marilyn Boria, a former director of the Elmhurst Public Library, as interim director. She will be paid $60 an hour for 12 to 15 hours a week, according to her contract.

Teske's salary as director is $110,000. Library Board President Esther Steel told the Tribune that he would be earning $86,000 as assistant director.

The Library Board meets again at 7 p.m. Thursday. The busy agenda calls for an annexation update, consideration of changing library hours, approval of an appraisal for the former Sixth Street School property, assessment of possible litigation matters, discussing the possibility of a survey regarding future library sites and discussion of next steps for a library director's search.

There also will be a closed session in which trustees discuss pending litigation and employment matters.

The Daily Herald said Teske has been working half-time since his return from the leave of absence, and personally told the library staff on Monday about his decision.

Steel noted that it took courage for Teske to come forward, to deal directly with issue of depression and to read his resignation letter aloud.

“This took a lot of strength," she told the Tribune. "I'm proud of him.”


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No more taxes January 24, 2014 at 09:09 AM
Wish Matt all the best as he works to overcome his depression. While I'm the first to complain about taxes and money the decision here appears to show compassion and is something our society and public companies need to show more of.
Colin C. January 24, 2014 at 09:21 AM
Sometimes money is not the most important consideration. Sometimes perhaps we should put place finances in a secondary position and allow compassion and just plain decency for a person, a member of our community, who has served us well and will undoubtedly continue to do so in the future. Matt has made an honest and courageous decision and a substancial sacrifice in order to be fair with us. We can do no less and still be able to look ourselves in the mirror.
Jon Azavedo January 24, 2014 at 05:27 PM
Good comments above. Make sure to let Susan Shivers know at the polls.

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