Arlington’s library advisory board chair was removed from the position this week following backlash over her social media post, criticizing council members during the height of a debate over LGBTQ displays.
In an 8-0 vote, city council members voted to remove Cat Serna-Horn from her position.
The vote Tuesday night came after Serna-Horn posted to a private Facebook group before a December library board meeting. The advisory board voted last fall to recommend Pride Month displays be limited to teen and adult areas, while designating other areas of the libraries for LGBTQ materials.
Her post urged people to speak out against censorship while also calling out specific council members, Arlington Mayor Jim Ross said Wednesday.
“This has nothing to do with inclusivity here in Arlington,” Mayor Ross told NBC 5 Wednesday. “This isn’t about who’s right or wrong when it comes to religion. This is about the appropriate behavior of a board member appointed by council.”
During public comments, two residents spoke in support of removing Serna-Horn from her position. Cynthia Montgomery of Arlington called her comments “unprofessional”, accusing her of “feigning an appreciation” for different viewpoints.
“As it turns out, she presented one face to the public then another to those she implored to help her forward the…and I quote…from her original Facebook posting…’pissy Christians and fundamentalists,”’ Montgomery said.
Serna-Horn spoke at the meeting, along with others who opposed her removal. She said she was previously told her post did not warrant removal.
“Furthermore, to try to convince me to still resign despite my values and ethics, I was offered political favors and cited that the reasoning for council needing to vote this way was to ensure that people stayed politically in line on future votes,” she claimed.
Mayor Ross denied any political favors were offered and said he did not have knowledge of any conversations about whether the post could potentially remove her from the position. Ross did confirm there was an offer of allowing her to resign on her own.
He added, he hoped the decision Tuesday night would offer some sort of closure and end to divisiveness.
“I love and respect the former chair. She is a passionate, intelligent lady who truly wants to serve this community,” he said. “I’m tired of people hating each other. They say they don’t, but it’s hate rhetoric. We’re better than that in Arlington, in North Texas, in Texas. We’re better than that.”
Zoe Wilkerson has been appointed the new chair of Arlington’s library advisory board. A meeting will be held Thursday.