Tuesday, January 01, 2008

SHOULD LIBRARY BD MEETINGS BE TELEVISED?

The Town Board televises our Board meetings. The Zoning Board & PLanning Board also televise our meetings. Should the Library Board televise their meetings? I think the answer is yes.
Last week the Library Board (without any advance notice) advised the Town Board that they were eliminating the cybermobile and closing the library on Sunday's. The Town Board had funded both the cybermobile and Sunday hours. I do not support these cuts.
If the Library Board would have televised their deliberations it would have provided the public with an understanding of the reasons behind their decision. Who recommended the cuts? Were these cuts made for political reasons? Were other cuts considered? WHy did the Library Board decide to increase some salariesof employees by more than the cost of living when other town employees only received a 3% increase? Could the library have deferred spending/purchases until after the new library opens? Did the library board act violate their own rules/regulations and the NY OPen meetings law when they made the cuts without advance public notice? Does the Library Board have the ability to spend funds allocated for one purpose (cybermobile) on other initiatives without consulting the Town Board?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can't answer this question without more information, particularly the specific additional costs involved, and in comparison to what other options are available (typed transcriptions perhaps).

Anonymous said...

The way the library is run they should all be fired.
There is too much favoritism as you can see who got the raises.
Getting rid of thr bookmobile and Sundays was just a ploy to get even with the town board.
You can see the greed that they have that they never thought about the residents.
What they did right along was never challenged this time we find out what dishonest people work there.
PAUL SHOW ALL OF THEM THE DOOR ONE BY ONE.
Should their meetings be televised yes,how else can the public know of what goes on there.
Every dept should be televised when demands are made of the town.
we all want to see how and where our money goes.
This should have been done many years ago maybe we would have been in a better tax position now.

Anonymous said...

Did Feiner and the Town Board ever bother to ask the library board what the impact would be of the cuts that Feiner proposed?

The town board's work sessions on the budget were videotaped. We heard plenty from the heads of parks and rec, public works and the community center why their budgets couldn't be cut -- and they weren't.

We heard Feiner say over and over again at those sessions that he was not in favor of cutting anything because he didn't want to see any services cut.

Well duh! When you cut the library's budget by $300,000+ -- a cut that Feiner himself made personally, but one which Sheehan and Juettner supported, they had to know there would be service cuts.

Wouldn't it have been a lot smarter if, before he shot his mouth off, Feiner had invited the library board to the town board work session so that he could ask what the impact would be?

That meeting would have been televised and the public would have known what the impact would be.

The public might have also been reminded that in order to avoid the politicization of libraries, New York does not permit town boards to dictate how library money should be spent.

So, even if Feiner thinks it would have been better if, instead of discontinuing the cybermobile and Sunday hours, the library didn't spend any money this year on books, under New York state law, that's not his choice to make.

Anonymous said...

I want to know what Parks and REc will cut.

hal samis said...

To 11:43 anonymous,

Why have you assumed that the only alternative left to the Library Board was to eliminate the cybermobile and sunday hours?

Have you considered that the Library Board deliberately sought to create public outrage by these cuts and then misdirect this anger to petards such as yourself who refuse to make the effort to look beyond the smokescreen that the Library Board has introduced.

The budget cut did not alter or reduce any of the services that the Library provided in 2007. It merely was intended to curb ADDITIONAL spending in 2008; spending which could easily be held off until 2009.

Roughly, the Library was adding $165,000 more to their purchases of books, cds and dvds with the idea that the new Library, when open, would house more items and that former spending levels (reduced because of the move) should be restored. However, if the new building were to be open, say by June 30, that would be a plan. But the reality is that the new building will be open in October, the earliest. Thus for the three months or less of an open and larger Library in 2008, the Library Board could easily swallow its pride and wait until 2009 to return to full functions and acquisition levels. And, lest anyone forget, the Town's unincorporated budget increase was onerous to all taxpayers. The 19% high increase that results is AFTER the budget cut to the Library.

Another Library line item is a $75,000 contingency fund. Nothing was used in 2007's budgeted $52,000contingency fund. If you eliminate ONLY the ADDITIONAL $165,000 and the $75,000 contingency fund, the taxpayers would save $240,000 -- while the decrease voted by the Town Board was just $200,000.

So when the Library Board chooses instead to eliminate the cybermobile and sunday Library hours, the conclusion is that they have acted willfully to harm their patrons by not acting responsibly.

Why would they do so and why did they do it in a manner which contravenes their own rules? I have my opinions but since my opinions don't count, ask the Library Director, Genie Contrata or the Board of Trustees President or Vice President, Howard Jacobs and Susan Wolfert.

Then post their explanation.

And clearly, the intent to protect Libraries from the political process is not working in Greenburgh. However, the door swings both ways and the same result can occur when the Library's Board of Trustees chooses to play.

So, if the Library Trustees decide to purchase more books, cds and dvds than in 2007 and eliminate the cybermobile as a result, who other than the Town Board can intervene as the advocate for the taxpayers and patrons?

The Library Trustees, non-elected volunteers, should not be the only arbiters of how a budget, now reduced to a mere $3.4 million of taxpayer dollars, is spent. The same voices that argue that the Valhalla School District (elected officials) misspent allocated funds without Town oversight are the same voices that see it reasonable for no oversight just because it is the Greenburgh Library.

And, Bob, the Town Board never even bothered to ask you either.
Shame on them.

Anonymous said...

Samis is right,the library representatives wanted to spend money on items that were not needed because the library will not be running fully until 2009.
Who are they to spend our money when they are not in service.
taking away the two services was more than petty.
That is why they should all go.
Well the town board should reduce their funds to nothing for this coming year.
Why should they get any raise in salary?
They should all be going to unemployment for benefits instead of collecting a salary when they are not working.
They have gotten away with too much up to now.
We finally realized how much waste is in this system and what they got away with.
They never expected to have a good investigative person like Samis checking them out so thouroughly.

Anonymous said...

The library board is hurting senior citizens because they are angry, not because they are right.

Anonymous said...

What are the usage stats for 2007 - bookmobile and library visits per day? Is there - statistically not emotionally - a demand for Sunday hours and/or bookmmobile services? No one can justifiably weigh in on the issue without this specific info.

THE TRUTH said...

LIBRARY STUFF A BIG WASTE.RESIDENTS PAYING 22MILL.SPEND THE MONEY ON FIXING THE SCHOOLS,POLICE STATION,COURT,ETC....MANY RESIDENTS AGREE

THE TOWN said...

TAKE A TOUR OF THE COURT AND POLICE STATION.ALSO PARKING COPS GO TO WORK AND CANT FIND APARKING SPACE,BUT SPEND 22MILL EMBARSSING.

THE TRUTH said...

YOU WANT TO SAVE MONEY LAY OFF ALL LIBRARY STAFF UNTIL NEW BIULDING IS UP.PEOPLE CAN USE OTHER LIBRARY.CLOSE LIBRARY IN TOWN HALL.OH MAKES SENSE,BUT THATS HOW YOU CUT THE BUDGET.

RESIDENT said...

CLOSE LIBRARY RESIDENTS CAN USE WHITE PLAINS FOR FREE.USE 22MILL ON OTHER STUFF.