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Monday, June 7, 2010

Piece of pie anyone?

Above pie chart created using 2009 revenues as reported by the Library Board of Trustees in their 2009 Annual Report For Public And Association Libraries. [Click on graphic to view in larger print.]

At the May 26, 2010 town board meeting, the town board unanimously appointed Mr. Wiatr to the New Hartford Public Library Board of Trustees. Since then, Mr. Wiatr has made several attempts to communicate with the "unofficial trustees", but to date his efforts have fallen on deaf ears. Perhaps it's time to point out a few facts...

Fact #1:

NYS Education Law §260 clearly states that only a town board may appoint members to a public library board of trustees. However, for the past five (5) years, the New Hartford Public Library has been making their own appointments. As reported in the Observer Dispatch, New Hartford library isn’t following its bylaws, the only officially appointed Library Trustee is Edmund J. Wiatr, Jr.

Fact #2:

Public Officer's Law §10 mandates that public officials must take the Oath of Office. It also states that the official shall file their Oath in the office of the clerk of the county in which he shall reside, if no place be otherwise provided by law for the filing thereof. That's where Town Law §25 comes into play. This law specifies that a trustee or officer of a town may file the oath of office with the town clerk.

Fact #3:

Town law §25 also states:
A neglect or an omission to take and file such oath, or to execute and file such undertaking within the time prescribed herein, except in the case of town justices, shall be deemed a refusal to serve and the office may be filled as in case of vacancy.
The time prescribed by Town Law §25 and Public Officer's Law §30(1)(h) is "if an appointive office, within thirty days after notice of his appointment, or within thirty days after the commencement of such term".

We checked with Town Clerk Gail Wolanin Young; she has not administered the Oath of Office to any current Library Trustees [except for Mr. Wiatr]; therefore, it would appear that the town board now has up to 10 vacancies to fill.

Getting back to the above pie chart, it is plain to see that 79% of the revenue to run the Library in 2009 came directly from the levy of taxes on Town of New Hartford residents with an additional 9% derived from the levy of taxes on all Oneida County residents. Only 12% of their revenues came from fundraising, gifts and other.

That being said, it would behoove the Library trustees to rethink their position on the appointment of ordinary taxpayers to their "elite" Board of Trustees. The Library needs broad public support to survive...the old adage "don't bite the hand that feeds you" applies here. How do you tell residents that their money is welcome, but they are not; where's your manners?

Current "unofficial" trustees as identified on the New Hartford Public Library website are:
Mary Du Ross, President
Shell Storrier, Vice-President
James Kirkpatrick, Secretary
Earl R. Cunningham, Treasurer
Susan M. Blatt, MD
Kevin Kelly
Alfred Moretz, MD
Linda Romano Petralia
Peter Rayhill
Connie P. Stephens
All upstanding members of the community and certainly people who should know the art of working with others; even those "others" that they would not normally even consider socializing with.

Since it is very obvious that the Library needs to get a piece of the "tax dollar pie" to survive, perhaps they should first consider eating a piece of "humble pie".

There is a lot of work to do to correct the oversights of the past...Mr. Wiatr, the only "officially appointed" library trustee, made an effort to reach across the table; how the rest of the story plays out is up to the "unofficial" library trustees.

Strikeslip has more on the New Hartford Library situation...Same Old Same Old In New Hartford.


Mango Man said...

I say let Mr. Wiatr assume the Chair and pick his own slate of trustees.

How can this current board be so damn arrogant?

What are they trying to hide?

County Resident said...

How much do other Library's receive in Oneida County?

Appears that the Town of New Hartford Library receives way too much funding. Is it because of County politics?

These tax dollars could be better spent elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

I must concur with everything presented. It appears Mr. Wiater is the only one who can legally do anything in directing the decisions and policy of the library at this particular moment in time. Congratulations to Mr. Wiater in whom the town board has indicated its desire to implement change at the library.

Strikeslip said...

Except for Mr. Wiatr, the current library board is acting without legal authority.

The Town administration needs to immediately bar the non-Town-appointed members from further participation in Library management and take immediate measures to secure the Library's records and assets.

swimmy said...

More importantly, mango man, as the ONLY Library board of trustees member, Mr. Wiatr is charged with preventing the current illegal squandering of the library's finances. Either he should take every measure to secure those funds peacefully, or demand the DA start indicting the criminals who are NOT board members.

Anonymous said...

The New Hartford library is yet another example of area wide problems in two ways. First, the duplication of library services is extremely expensive. It seems as if each entity has one. libraries should be consolidated and shared. Second, local boards of directors are manned by elites of the country club set who view their duties as hobbies and spend tax dollars without restraint. They just love soending the money of others wwithout oversight. More, real people should step up to the plate.

Anonymous said...