Library Campaign: The "men behind the millage" 2015.09.02


As a headline in this paper earlier this summer noted, It takes a village to pass a millage.

And in the case of the Stair District Library millage that was certainly true.

Many people from around the country contributed financially to the millage campaign, but it was a local effort, spearheaded by women, (the indomitable Liz Stella, Joyce Woerner, Kelley Burrow and their two-dozen, mostly all-women crew) that got the job done.

You’ve heard it said that behind every great man is a great woman (or as Jim Carrey says, “Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.”).

But in this case, behind these great women, there are a few great men, the Men behind the Millage.

It’s probably a folly to make this observation, but the ring of “the Men behind the Millage” has a nice catchy sound. And, in considering the library’s recent passage of its millage, we acknowledge several of the men who made it all possible.

Long before the millage committee formed, they were the unsung heroes of the effort to form a district library—a legal arrangement that had to take place before a millage campaign could ever be waged. These are the men who laid the foundation, who made it possible for our public library to become a district library, sustaining it into the future.

Morenci city administrator/clerk Michael Sessions embraced the idea of district formation early on, not just because it would free up funds for use in other city departments, but because he could see that it would ensure the library would be adequately funded. He presented the case to Morenci City Council which embraced it.

Morenci Area Schools superintendent Mike McAran likewise recognized the importance of a strong library in the community and presented the district concept to the school board for its approval. His involvement was pivotal in the district formation process.

City council and the school board should both be praised for approving the formal agreement that set the district library in motion, but without the foresight and support of McAran and Sessions, there wouldn’t be a district library. Both of these men have been instruments of long-lasting good in this community.

One other name that stands out is that of Dick Butler, an attorney specializing in library law. His guidance through the process was essential. He was the “crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s” person, making certain that no mistakes were made.

One final acknowledgement goes to David Green for coming up with the campaign slogan, “Step up for Stair,” and for his editorial support of the project through the newspaper.

It took a concerted effort by a large number of people for a success millage campaign, but these men were all so essential to the cause.