Reality is that the library board can "recommend" anyone they want to fill an expired term, but according to NYS Education Law and the library's own bylaws, the town board has complete control over who is appointed to the library board when a term has expired. No "recommendation" from the library board is required.
At the library board meeting on January 9, 2013, Board President Linda Romano Petralia tried to say she thought that the vacancy left by the resignation of Karen Madden last November meant that the library could choose her replacement. However, in a precedent setting move, Library Trustee Connie Stephens actually disagreed with Ms. Romano and correctly told her that Ms. Madden's term would have expired on December 31, 2012, therefore, the town board has the authority to fill the vacancy. Trustee Wiatr agreed.
We videotaped the library board meeting last September 19, 2012 when Ms. Madden was appointed to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Ms. Emmert. One of the reasons some of the library board members gave to appoint Ms. Madden was that she was the next highest vote-getter who was not already a library trustee. At the time, we found it incredible that out of eight (8) trustees sitting around a table, seven (7) of them all voted for the same person particularly since there were five (5) names to choose from. What's the odds? It almost seemed like they were all told who to vote for in advance and they were merely going through the formalities. LOL!
However, this time instead of "recommending" the next highest vote-getter, Ed Flemma, Ms. Romano changed the "rules" and chose to recommend someone that serves on another board with her; someone who did not collect signatures to gain a seat on the board if the re-chartering was successful.
Nothing against Mr. DeRosa, however, there is a process for filling an expired vacancy on the library board prescribed in law and in the library by-laws...that process needs to be followed. And the library board, by their own decision last September to appoint Ms. Madden because she was the next highest vote-getter, set a precedent.
Then again, perhaps the decision to change the "rules" this time was because according to FOILed page 56 of 817, Connie Stephens writes to Linda Romano with a copy to Mary DuRoss and Tim Trainor, that "our new unknown Ed Flemma is # 14". Number14 refers to the order in which the candidates were to appear on the August rechartering ballot.
Therein lies part of the problem with the New Hartford Public Library; they recycle the same people over and over again or only appoint people who are part of their inner circle; they don't like the "unknowns". Oh, they have no problem asking Joe Taxpayer to fund their little fiefdom, but their thought is that Joe Taxpayer needs to know his place in society...on the New Hartford Library Board would not be it.
That "elite" thinking needs to change; hopefully, the town board will do the right thing at their next meeting and consider ALL resumes that are received. Clearly, Mr. Flemma, the next highest vote-getter in the August re-chartering vote should be high on the list. After all, he was the choice of the people and he actually garnered more votes than the majority of the current library board members!
The Town of New Hartford website is asking for resumes of residents who would like to serve on the library board:
THE TOWN OF NEW HARTFORD IS ACCEPTING LETTERS OF INTEREST/ RESUMES FROM TOWN RESIDENTS INTERESTED IN SERVING ON THE NEW HARTFORD PUBLIC LIBRARY BOARD OF TRUSTEES. INFORMATION MAY BE SENT TO THE TOWN SUPERVISOR'S OFFICE, 48 GENESEE STREET, NEW HARTFORD, NY 13413 ON OR BEFORE MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2013.If you are interested in serving, be sure to get your resume to the Town Supervisor's Office before February 11, 2013.