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Gnissios out as executive director of Coquitlam Public Library

Last month, the library board removed Todd Gnissios as executive director — a position he had held for about a decade.
Todd Gnissios was the executive director of the Coquitlam Public Library until February 2023.

Coquitlam Public Library (CPL) is looking for a new leader.

Last month, the library board removed Todd Gnissios as executive director — a position he had held for about a decade.

CPL spokesperson Samantha Wink confirmed Gnissios' departure in a statement issued to the Tri-City News today (March 1).

"The entire library's board and staff thank Todd for his years of service to our organization and wish him well in his future endeavours."

Anthea Goffe is now acting in his stead as the library recruits for Gnissios' replacement, she said.

"We will seek leadership that supports our core library services and helps the organization adapt and evolve into the future," the statement reads.

"Coquitlam Public Library has built a strong reputation for its commitment to the changing needs of our diverse, growing community, and we look forward to continuing to build that this year."

On Jan. 25, Gnissios presented the library's annual budget before the city's finance committee and, according to the library board's minutes, he was at the CPL board meeting that night. Gnissios left the role on Feb. 7.

Besides the executive director, the board, which operates under the BC Library Act, is currently made up of the following members:

  • Jacqueline Gorton, chairperson
  • Raymond Lee, vice chairperson
  • Stephen Leung, treasurer
  • Coun. Matt Djonlic, trustee
  • Monica Heir, trustee
  • Cindy Mark, trustee
  • Neal Nicolson, trustee
  • Kimberly Sivak, trustee
  • Richard Veerapen, trustee

In an email, Djonlic told the Tri-City News "the library will continue to support the needs of patrons and continuity of services" during the transition.

Still, it's not the first time the CPL board has suddenly bid farewell to its executive director.

In 2013, board chairperson Jack Trumley announced that the board had terminated CEO Rhian Piprell for undisclosed reasons.

Her replacement was Gnissios, who in September 2012 was released from his duties as CEO of the Lethbridge Public Library as "it was looking for a change in direction," Gnissios told the Tri-City News at the time.

Before that, Gnissios was Lethbridge's associate director of branches and outreach services, and, prior, was a research librarian at the Vancouver Public Library for 24 years.

Besides his library work, Gnissios had been active the political front: He was the BC Liberal riding president for Vancouver–Mt. Pleasant, and, in 1991, he ran against Mike Harcourt.

Gnissios also worked on provincial and federal campaigns, including the byelection of Coquitlam's then mayor Lou Sekora when he successfully ran for MP for the Liberals.

As well, Gnissios was an NPA candidate for the Vancouver School Board.

CPL has two branches — City Centre and Poirier — and has 84 staff of which many are members of CUPE Local 561. In 2022, there were 526,539 visits between both branches, an increase of 41 per cent over 2021.

Last April, Gnissios came under fire after he issued layoff notices to seven employees, and shift or hour change notices to up to 15 other unionized staff, citing city underfunding.

Requests for comment from Goffe and CUPE were not immediately returned.


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