January 30, 2023

The Chair of Arlington’s Library Advisory Council was removed from her position this week after backlash over her social media post criticizing council members during the culmination of a debate over LGBTQ displays.

City council members voted 8-0 to remove Cat Serna-Horn from office.

Tuesday night’s vote came after Serna-Horn posted to a private Facebook group ahead of a library board meeting in December. The advisory board voted last fall to limit Pride Month exhibits to teen and adult sections, while dedicating other sections of the libraries to LGBTQ materials.

Her post urged people to speak out against censorship while calling out certain council members, Arlington Mayor Jim Ross said Wednesday.

“This has nothing to do with inclusion here in Arlington,” Mayor Ross told NBC 5 on Wednesday. “This isn’t about who’s right or wrong when it comes to religion. This is about the appropriate conduct of a Council-appointed director.”

During public comments, two residents spoke out in favor of removing Serna-Horn from their position. Arlington’s Cynthia Montgomery called her comments “unprofessional” and accused her of “faking an appreciation” for different viewpoints.

“As it turns out, she presented one face to the public and then another to those she begged to help her forward the… and I’m quoting… from her original Facebook post… ‘pissing 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.

“To convince me to step down anyway, despite my values ​​and ethics, I was offered political favors and quoted as saying that the reasoning for the Council having to vote in this way was to ensure that future votes would see people politically informed stay in line,” she claimed.

Mayor Ross denied that political favors were offered and said he was unaware of talks about whether the post could potentially remove her from the position. Ross confirmed there was an offer to allow her to step down on her own.

He added he hopes Tuesday night’s decision would offer some sort of closure and an end to the split.

“I love and respect the former chairman. She’s a passionate, intelligent woman who genuinely 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 named the new Chair of Arlington’s Library Advisory Board. There is a meeting on Thursday.

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