♫ Dum-da-dum-dum…dummm ♫.
It was January 9, 2013, rather warm as winter weather goes in this town; the New Hartford Library Board meeting was scheduled to begin at 12 noon.
Shortly after the start of the meeting, Library Trustee Earl Cunningham reported that there was a budget shortfall of roughly $10,000, and that he had transferred approximately $10,000 from the surplus fund to cover the shortfall.
With a look of total disbelief, Trustee Wiatr questioned Mr. Cunningham regarding the surplus fund asking if he meant the Building Fund instead. However, Treasurer Cunningham replied, "no, he did not mean the Building Fund."
A day later, January 10, 2013...
a reporter from the Observer Dispatch wrote an article...New Hartford Library Surplus Surprises Some. The article reported that:
The New Hartford Public Library, which has cut hours and is looking to pare down staff due to a shrinking budget, has a surplus fund nearing $100,000.Soon after, on Friday, January 11, 2013, New Hartford NY Online wrote a blog, $100,000 hiding in the "books" at the New Hartford Public Library?
New Hartford NY Online posted a video that proves that Mr. Cunningham denied that the extra money was housed in the so-called Building Fund.
January 27, 2013, a guest editorial appears in the Observer Dispatch...it's written by New Hartford Public Library Board President Linda Romano Petralia...N Hartford Library Figures have been available.
In her guest editorial, Board President Linda Romano Petralia claims that they handed out their "...compiled and certified by a Certified Public Accountant" financials at their January 9, 2013 meeting, [As we wrote in our blog, Compiled and certified by a Certified Public Accountant...??? , we wrote to Mr. Dan Dreimiller, who performed the aforementioned "compilation" and asked him to confirm that he considers the compilation certified. Mr. Dreimiller responded to other questions; however, he neither confirmed nor denied certifying the library compilation report. He simply ignored the question!]
In her guest editorial, Ms. Romano also chastised the Observer Dispatch for "failing to participate in the process, fails to check the facts, then opines, criticizes and condemns after the fact to further an agenda based upon conjecture and misinformation."
Ms. Romano-Petralia accused Trustee Wiatr for being "the only trustee who apparently wasn’t aware of the fund balance". She also had words for town board councilman and liaison to the library, Don Backman, who, according to Ms. Romano-Petralia, "only attended two public meetings since being appointed liaison between the library and the Town Board."
Ms. Romano-Petralia said in her guest editorial:
Assuming the editorial board did not receive a copy from its reporter, I have provided a copy of the certified financial statements to each member. The fund balance is clearly disclosed on page 3 under Net Assets, Unrestricted: Board Designated $98,243.Monday, January 28, 2013, New Hartford NY Online was quick to blog, If you can't dazzle them with brilliance... The blog pointed out:
It is suspect as to whether or not Ms. Romano even knows what Unrestricted Board Designated Assets are...let alone what restrictions the library board apparently placed on the funds some time ago and how the fund is to be managed.
February 12, 2013, the Library Board met at 7:00 p.m. in Butler Hall; Ms. Romano-Petralia was absent; however, Trustee Connie Stephens conducted the meeting. Treasurer Earl Cunningham was called upon to give his financial report.
In an attempt to set the record straight, Mr. Cunningham stated for the record that the reported $100,000 surplus was actually from the checking account...not the board advised fund as Ms. Petralia had stated in her earlier guest editorial. According to Mr. Cunningham, there is also a savings account that is used for credit card donations to the library; money from that account is transferred to the checking account once a year.
For some reason, Treasurer Cunningham never reports the total of the checking account or savings account to the board during his Finance Committee reports; a committee that Mr. Cunningham chairs and Mr. Wiatr has been a member of for over two (2) years; a committee that has never met since Mr. Wiatr was appointed to serve with Mr. Cunningham.
How was Trustee Wiatr to know the whereabouts of the $100,000 surplus...how was the Observer Dispatch to know when apparently the board president didn't even know? Did Supervisor Tyksinski actually know that the $100,000 surplus was in the checking account? Is the checking account the operating fund that Treasurer Cunningham often refers to or is it the surplus fund? Will the auditors be able to make sense of it all? Will Trustee Wiatr find the answers he so desperately seeks?
Here is the video of Treasurer Earl Cunningham's report to the New Hartford Library Board, Tuesday, February 12, 2013...
Who really DOES know what's going on at the New Hartford Public Library?