Sunday, January 04, 2009

LETTER TO WESTCHESTER LIBRARY SYSTEM ABOUT SUNDAY LIBRARY HOURS AND DECISION OF WHITE PLAINS TO CLOSE LIBRARY ON SUNDAYS


This is a letter I am sending out to the Executive Director of the Westchester Library System about Sunday library hours. I just came back from the Greenburgh Library-- was very impressed. There were hundreds of patrons enjoying the library. There is definitely a need for library services. However - it's unfair for Greenburgh to have to assume the additional costs of being a regional library WITHOUT getting some reimbursement. White Plains and other libraries are closing down operations on Sundays.

Terry Kirschner, Executive Director
Westchester Library System
540 White Plains Road Suite 200
Tarrytown, NY 10591

Dear Mr. Kirschner:
This letter is being written to suggest a meeting with all the Library Directors from around the county to discuss Sunday hours. This past Sunday the Journal News reported the closing of the White Plains Public Library on Sundays. My guess is that other communities, experiencing budget problems will also consider closing down library operations on Sunday as well.
On Sunday I had the opportunity to visit the Greenburgh Library. I was very impressed. Hundreds of people were at the library, enjoying the books, computers, reading rooms. The problem: Many of the library visitors do not reside in Greenburgh. Yet, Greenburgh is absorbing the costs of providing library services to residents and non residents. When White Plains closes the library on Sunday's turnout at the Greenburgh library will be even greater -- possibly requiring more staff services and additional expenses. Greenburgh residents should not not have to absorb additional taxes to pay for additional services offered to non residents.
A few options could/should be considered: The Westchester Library System might wish to provide local communities that offer library services on Sundays with a subsidy to help defray costs. When the Greenburgh Library is open on a Sunday it is serving the entire region -- not just Greenburgh. It would be fair if taxpayers from the rest of the county would help defray the costs associated with staffing the library.
Another option: The Westchester Library System could coordinate the scheduling of Sunday hours. You have about 30 participating libraries as members of the WLS. Instead of every library being open every Sunday libraries could rotate the service and be open on specific Sunday's during the calendar year. A calendar could be distributed to library patrons advising them which library is open on a given Sunday. The county could be divided into different sections so every resident who wants to use a library on Sunday can conveniently access the library. For example, White Plains, Scarsdale, Greenburgh, Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Hastings, Irvington, Tarrytown might be in one region. Each of the libraries in the region would be open on a different Sunday during the year.
A third option: To reduce pressure from taxpayers to close down libraries on Sunday's - a non resident service fee could be authorized for each book taken out by non residents. This would help local libraries that are open on Sundays pay part of the expenses.
I believe that libraries should be open on Sundays. There is definitely a need for the Sunday hours. I also would like to see library hours open on Saturday evenings. I would be grateful for the opportunity to meet with the Westchester Library System to discuss these suggestions in greater detail. These suggestions should be considered a first draft -- other options might be considered.
Thanks so much for your consideration.
Sincerely,

PAUL FEINER

59 comments:

Anonymous said...

Paul,
Please tell me. How much does it cost to operate the Library on Sundays?

Library Haiku said...

Homework due Monday

library not open

Xposure pays cash

Anonymous said...

You have so many ideas for matters that have nothing to do with town management. I wish you'd spend half the amount of energy and time on your actual job responsibilities. Leave the library alone. Plus, with your name on the letter, it'll be rejected automatically; you should know that by now.

Anonymous said...

Paul,

If you were concerned about fairness you would not have encouraged Elmsford to get a reduced rate at Ardsley.

Anonymous said...

Paul,

If you were concerned about fairness you would not have encouraged Elmsford to get a reduced rate at Ardsley.

Anonymous said...

This Sunday closing of libraries is such a disgrace. Let all employees and Directors of libraries know that they must be open for business every Sat. and Sun. because that's when most of the taxpaying, working citizens whose hard earned dollars pay for the libraries, have the time to visit them. And yes, students need time on Sundays to use the library facilities.

If you must close the library, due to budget constraints, make it on a Tuesday or a Wednesday, for heavens sake. Stop treating those who pay for the libraries as minor considerations. OUR NEEDS should be the FIRST thing you think about when making decisions about when to close.

How stupid are we to let libraries get away with their capricious, public be damned, policies.

Anonymous said...

Paul, a good idea! I'm not surprised. Am not surprised that some people like to complain about all your suggestions. Don't let them get you down.

Anonymous said...

Stay open Sunday, but close Wednesday or Thursday, or whatever weekday is least popular at the library. Ardsley opens Thursday at 1pm but stays open till 9. There are ways to be fiscally prudent and still serve the public creatively.

that easy. said...

Why not close the library, Sell the building and purchase a lap top for all Greenburg residents.All complaints solved.

hal samis said...

7:24,

Please explain how "Feiner encouraged Elmsford to get a reduced rate with Ardsley".

As much as I believe Paul has overstayed his welcome in Greenburgh, I also believe in fairness.

What bargaining chips do you think that Greenburgh held in the negotiations?

Pretend I'm Walter Cronkite and this is "You Are There"

WC Good evening folks, we're standing just outside the room where negotiations between Greenburgh and Elmsford are underway. The Elmsford Library service contract with Greenburgh has recently ended and Greenburgh wants to increase the fee for Elmsford's renewal although some insiders, who spoke to us on the condition that their names would not be used, have indicated that Greenburgh would probably be satisfied with renewing at the old contract rate.

Unfortunately we are not permitted to take our film crew into the room where negotiations are already underway; however we can relay to our viewers what are overhearing.

Greenburgh has just offered a major concession. They are willing to renew at the same rate as the expired contract.

If so, that would mean that on a per capita basis, Elmsford residents would still be paying less than unincorporated residents and Elmsford would not have to contribute to the debt service on the $19.9 million of to construct the new building.

Wait this just in. The Westchester Library System (WLS) has explained to Elmsford that they can obtain Library cards for its residents from any Westchester Library in the system and, once having a card it allows an
Elmsford resident to have Library privileges at any of its 38 member libraries.

The Mayor of Elmsford has just asked the WLS, what if they can negotiate a better service contract with other municipalities than what Greenburgh is offering?

The WLS representative said, that's your choice. All we tell you is what the rules say. So, if you can find a better deal, more power to you.

The Mayor of Elmsford and the Greenburgh Library contingent (Paul Feiner, Howard Jacobs, Susan Wolfert) are huddling together now but it looks like, hold on viewers, they are breaking up and the Elmsford delegation are leaving. Yes, they definitely are putting on their coats. Let me try and get over to them before they leave.

Mr. Mayor, Mr. Mayor can you spare a minute.

(Elmsford) Sure, happy to do so.

(WC) What just happened?

(Elmsford) We're leaving, we wanted Greenburgh to drop their fee substantially and they won't budge and I believe I can get a better deal for our residents.

(WC) Why do you think you should. We've heard that you're already paying less per resident than Greenburgh residents do under the expired contract.

(Elmsford) That may be true but I've got to look out for what's best for my constituents. As a matter of fact, I suspect I can get a better deal from other libraries nearby.

(WC) But none as close to Elmsford as Greenburgh.

(Elmsford) True, but according to the WLS I can still keep all of the same user privileges at Greenburgh as long as I have an arrangement with a WLS member.

(WC) But you're neighbors and you've always been using the Greenburgh Library.

(Elmsford) That's all true but then there's the real dealbreaker:
There isn't going to be a Greenburgh Library for maybe two, maybe three years. Haven't you heard that voters approved an expansion referendum. What's going to happen to the Library during construction? They're going to cram it into that decrepit old Town Hall, the one that the Town Board couldn't get away from fast enough...Give me a break. I'm not taking any chances, I'll go with a sure thing, especially if I can save my residents money. If they ever finish the new construction, then we'll talk.

(WC) Just one more question, Mr. Mayor, was the Greenburgh team flexible?

(Elmsford) I thought I was making headway but then that tall guy and the reporter gal from the Trustees opened their mouths and that was a clear signal for me to skedaddle. Jeez, what a-holes, can I say that on tv?
Oh, sorry. Look, I'd love to stay and chat some more but I promised I'd talk to that guy over there from Ardsley before I left. You have any idea why he's here?

(WC) Not a clue, sir. Goodbye.

What sort of a day was it? A day like all days, filled with those events that alter and illuminate our times...and you were there.
This is Walter Cronkite signing off for CBS and wishing you a good night.

So, 7:24, would you prefer the boxing match version?

Anonymous said...

Hal,

The MLS system supposedly only allows membership if a town/village/area/etc has a library or pays to have such privilege at a contiguous area. Not any. Contiguous. Otherwise libary priviledges could be shopped. Greenburgh could offer membership to north county areas for a minimal fee, knowing that they wont really be using the Greenburgh library, but just want MLS priviledges. But there is no enforcement. Will Elmsford be using Ardsley?

But Paul encouraged this -- in his Villages First policy.

Paul Feiner said...

I did not encourage Elmsford to sign a contract with Ardsley. In fact, I was disappointed that the former Library Bd did not negotiate with Elmsford. We lost $1 million in revenue because Elmsford signed a contract with Ardsley. At the same time Elmsford residents have access to the WLS and can use the Greenburgh library. I am hopeful that Elmsford will come back to Greenburgh!

Anonymous said...

Paul,

Your demanding that Greenburgh give away MLS membership (ie, in your own words, negotiate) is exactly what started this problem.

Anonymous said...

From an end-user standpoint, it doesn't matter at all what municipality a library is in. Financing aside, in practice it's just one WLS with many branches. Hartsdale will continue to use Ardsley, Elmsford will return to using Greenburgh, Edgemont will continue to use Yonkers and Scarsdale, etc.

Anonymous said...

I say expand weekend hours and open later on weekdays!

yaddy yaddy said...

UNDER the rules of the Westchester Library System, each of the county's municipalities has two choices for providing free library services to its residents: build its own library or pay a fee to use the library in an adjoining community.

This village of 4,700 does not have a library, but its residents have used the public library in Greenburgh, its sole contiguous neighbor, since 1999, when the two communities signed a contract. In return, Elmsford has paid Greenburgh an annual fee, which last fiscal year was $258,000.

The contract expired on May 31, but Elmsford has not yet agreed to renew it. Its officials asked, instead, for an extension of the old agreement until they could resolve a lawsuit challenging Greenburgh's rights to the land where the library stands. Elmsford claims it still owns the land. Greenburgh is planning a $20 million renovation of the library, which Elmsford has asked a judge to delay until the suit is settled.

The library's trustees rebuffed the request to extend the old contract and threatened to bar Elmsford residents from checking out books and to bar Elmsford children from joining library programs if the village did not resume paying for the services by Aug. 15.

Howard Jacobs, the president of the library Board of Trustees, said the Greenburgh board did not set the deadline in retaliation for the lawsuit. The reason for the deadline, he said, was to pressure Elmsford into paying a higher fee.

''If we have to cut off Elmsford, it will be a very sad day for us,'' Mr. Jacobs said, ''because we all feel very strongly that services should be provided to them. But we also feel that it is time they pay for the services at an amount that is somewhat equal to what residents of unincorporated Greenburgh have been paying.''

Under the expired contract, Elmsford paid $55.19 per resident to use the library. Mr. Jacobs said Elmsford should be paying at a rate of $71.68, which is close to what the Greenburgh residents pay for the library in taxes. That rate would bring Elmsford's annual payment to about $334,000, an increase of about 30 percent. Mr. Jacobs also said that Elmsford residents did not have to pay for the library's expansion but that Greenburgh residents do.

Elmsford's mayor, Robert Williams, said the fee increase was too steep to be absorbed in one year. He said he was willing to pay what Elmsford paid last fiscal year.

The Greenburgh Public Library was built on a hill that belonged to Elmsford until it was annexed by Greenburgh in 1967. In its lawsuit, filed on June 19 in State Supreme Court, Elmsford is questioning the legality of that four-decade-old process. The lawsuit further says that if the library is in Elmsford, then Greenburgh officials had no authority to approve the expansion. According to the village's lawyer, Daniel Pozin, the project would have to be approved, instead, by Elmsford's planning and zoning boards. Mr. Pozin said the lawsuit had nothing to do with the proposed increase in the fee.

Greenburgh is due to file a written answer to Elmsford's lawsuit by Tuesday; Elmsford then will have until Aug. 23 to respond.

Greenburgh's supervisor, Paul J. Feiner, said that the lawsuit had no merit and that he would be ''surprised'' if a judge ruled against Greenburgh. Still, he said, ''it would be a crime if children end up being deprived of library services'' -- though he said that Elmsford should pay more for the services it receives.

Anonymous said...

The deed for this property should have been checked out before any renovatios were made.

This is our government ,never checking anything out before they leap.
The library board did not give a dam to whom the property belonged.
They were reminded several times by Mr. Rettinger as to the deed stating that the property was indeed in Elmsford partially.
Did the town board check into the complaint NO.
We will have to see how the judges ruling goes.
Maybe we will have to sell the building to settle the law suit.

Anonymous said...

Elmsford's suit was dismissed. The village had no claim. Renninger was wrong.

hal samis said...

Dear 11:05, presumably 7:24 making another attempt at promoting hogwash. And 9:37 if the same.

You're making no sense. Even to writing MLS instead of WLS. M and W are not even near each other on the keyboard. MLS is a real estate listing system. Thus, is it you Lorren?

There really are no Greenburgh villains in this saga. I often like to blame the Trustees for everything and way more often then not they deserve it.

However, whereas I don't blame Paul (he doesn't make the WLS rules) I can't really blame this on the Library Trustees either. And never did.

One of my earliest Library driven complaints (even before the Referendum frenzy) was that Elmsford was getting a better deal per capita vs unincorporated residents who would be solely responsible for the debt service should the expanded Library plan materialize.

At the time, it was explained to me that the Elmsford contract was based on ratables rather than population. This made no sense because the wear and tear on a book knows not from how much the borrower is worth.

That the Library sought a better deal was reasonable and proper.

That Elmsford should at least pay the same rate as unincorporated is fair, especially since they weren't asked to contribute toward the cost of bonding the expansion.

That Elmsford found a better deal is understandable -- especially when the Greenburgh Library was expected to sharply curtail its services due to relocation. The Elmsford mayor has responsibilities to his residents also.

The Ardsley Library did what they were allowed to as it could use the found money as badly as any Library could.

Few Elmsford residents used the Greenburgh Library in Town Hall, not because of their deal with Ardsley but because most of the Greenburgh Library was in storage, 80% said Greenburgh.

The "victim" if one is necessary despite the bad timing of the contract expiration and the plans for new construction, then, is the WLS whose rules permit communities lacking libraries to negotiate, playing one library off against another. In most respects, having a WLS benefits all library users but my interest and time is not concerned with changing the WLS or the White Plains Library. I am only concerned with our Library.

Still, when the contract with Ardsley expires, what will be different other than Elmsford if it renews with Ardsley will now make a beeline for Tarrytown Road.
However, remember that for much of Elmsford, Ardsely is more convenient to get to.

If the WLS rules are still the same at expiration, then the loss of revenue will continue.

Whereas I still believe that fairness should reign and operating expenses be shared equally by cardholders, perhaps there is some non-monetary quid ro quo kicker that Elmsford could throw into the pot?

And big picture-wise, wouldn't it be reasonable for the Ardsley Library to want to stay in the loop? Ardsley and Elmsford do share borders.

Maybe library service contracts could be the new currency in the Veteran Park pool/tennis miasma.

term limits needed said...

ardsley and elmsford share borders with unincorporated greenburgh but not each other.

that said - it seems the greenburgh library board of trustees played their hand poorly.

some of them will be gone because of term limits.

without term limits unincorporated greenburgh gets a villager like diana juettner as their town board liaison to its library. juettner must go in 2009. she is a disaster.

Anonymous said...

Emsford can shop around all they want -- this isnt the libary's fault, Feiner encourages the villages to take what they can from unincorporated. It will take Edgemont leaving for him to quit.

Paul go away! said...

Aside from all things library negative, why on earth would we have asked Elmsford for a rate of $71.68 (which is close to what Greenburgh residents pay in taxes for the library) if Elmsford doe not own the library?
We built the bloody thing. Why would we expect others to pay up to use it at a rate they had no choice in determining and for something they will have no equity in?

As far as the “lost 1 million dollar revenue” goes, were we foolish enough to have built the library expecting this revenue to continue? All things considered, I find it disgraceful that Paul grovels for help to keep the library open on Sundays. The library should be open, we’ve paid plenty for it, and, Paul, cut one of your other silly programs, like Xposure, to keep it open! DISGRACEFUL!!!!

Paul go away again. said...

Sweet Mary. I can not believe how DUMB leaders in this town are.

hal samis said...

Dear 11:31,

You're making me defend the Town official I least want to defend.

What do you know that I don't?

It is the White Plains Library that is closing on Sunday, not ours.

We were foolish to have built this Library but you may be the only blogger that implies that Feiner favored this expansion. Sure he's hopped on the publicity train in time to smile for the cameras at the station. But everyone else knows he got on at the next to last stop.

And, why do you believe that the Library doesn't have enough money in its budget to provide Sunday hours? The residents who voted for the Library expansion did so on the dumb assumption (fanned by the Trustees) that a Library twice as big wouldn't cost much more to operate. Remember we're going to save money because of geothermal wells and the ski slope roof will let light in reducing the lighting expense. Yes, you suckers fell for the pitch. Now shut up and pay for it.

And just because it is twice the size of the old building, don't think that the patrons are getting the benefit of all the extra space, most of it is wasted, dead space serving no practical purpose other than providing the staff with "elbow room" if the exoskeleton was that of a brontosaurus. And that's today's estimate. Ask me again in 10 years when computers wipe out the need for the bulk of the bookshelves. That will be the Library of Tomorrow; ours is a monument to the Library of Yesterday. As far as I am concerned, 60% of the Library's production occurs on the ground floor in the 2000 feet (out of 46,000) that is home to the reserve pick-ups, the bestseller's and the dvd collection. Staff this with 3 people and you have the Greenburgh Public Library. Even the Library Trustees know it; that's why they made it convenient for residents to dash in and dash out. After the initial tour, most residents without young children will never again find themselves on the upper level. Think about it, supermarkets put the milk in the rear of the store in the hope that you will buy something else enroute. The Trustees feared that anyone would actually go upstairs and stumble across a copy of Moby Dick to take home with their Patricia Cornwell or John Grisham literary oeuvres.

Upstairs they run a different show and if known by its proper name, the Demita Gerber Daycare Center, you might question why we spent so much on this money trap when the school age population is poised to start a precipitous decline.

As for "silly programs like Xposure" you're right but eliminating them could have reduced the 7.8% tax increase or left more money in the Fund Balance for next year's rain. The Library doesn't need the Xposure money to operate. What they need is someone with a business background to make it run like a business (ok, exclude 2008). That goes for the rest of the Town -- in triplicate.

And how would you feel if you learned that outsiders were using your library as their library and they were paying a lot less and on top of that they didn't even have to pay to build the eyesore. Oh, but they don't have equity, you say. A lot of good your equity is doing you if you are asked to throw good money after bad to keep the doors open. Then you would be blaming Feiner for looking out for Elmsford. Come on, there are so many, many legitimate grievances with his management; the Library debacle just isn't one of them.

Bee in the ear department. Wait until some White Plains residents wake up and learns how much their Library Director and Assistant Library Director earn. Then you'll see the real firework show.

juettner v. samis said...

now i ask you - who should be on the town board - diana juettner or hal samis?

juettner - a village resident who doesnt pay for the unincorporated library is the town board liaison to the library!

this is wrong. juettner should know better. she has to go in 2009.

Anonymous said...

Samis doesn't pay for the library either. He's a renter with an ax to grind. How about someone who actually pays property taxes in unincorporated Greenburgh?

Anonymous said...

Samis belongs on any board regardless whether he pays property tax or not.

He is the only one that has the balls to put this town government on the honest track.

He represents each and everyone of us who fear retaliation from our leaders.

Anonymous said...

Hal,

Had Paul not started off the new Library with his demand to be the sole arbitrar of how and how much to sell off old library for, we dont know where we would have ended. Your excuse for him, that he doesnt follow procedures (in this case law) is lame.

samis is the answer said...

samis is already doing the job of 4 town board members

he should be paid.

samis should run. he is our only hope.

Anonymous said...

Samis said elsewhere on this blog that he doesn't want to offer his services on a board. Let's take him at his word and move on. Let's find someone good who really does want to serve.

Anonymous said...

As a resident of Hastings who frequents the Greenburgh library I would be most upset at having to pay a fee to borrow a book from Greenburgh. One of the best things about the WLS is the fact that we have the free use of all the libraries in WLS.

I use the Greenburgh library because it has a better selection of books and movies than the Hastings library. It's also more convenient for me when I'm on my way home from work. Like many working people, I use the library most during the weekends. I think that closing earlier during the week might be a better idea.

Anonymous said...

Oh and one more thing, as a resident of Hastings, I just love using the Greenburgh library knowing that I don't have to pay a dime in taxes to pay for it. What a system we have here in Greenburgh! I also love having free access to the town's parks and recreational facilities too. We have our own pool here in Hastings, so we don't need Veterans, but having free access to everything else, including the indoor pool at TDYCC, is just wonderful. Paul, dear, please come by the Dobbs Ferry Stop & Shop and tell us in the villages more about all the wonderful amenities we get for free at the expense of those saps in unincorporated Greenburgh.

guess who? edgemont etc said...

i wonder who has voted for juettner and sheehan who support feiner 100%?

why its edgemont and the rest of unincorporated greenburgh.

hal samis said...

Duh, 3:31,

What are you raving about?

In any vote taken in Greenburgh, Feiner's one vote alone wins him nothing. So much for "sole arbiTER"
or arbitrator.

"your excuse for him is that he doesn't follow procedures (in this case law) is lame"

Careful, when you put "case" in front of law is confuses readers who might think you meant "case law"

Now I get it, you're trying to prove that we need libraries because people like you still haven't learned to read or write. My apologies.

Anonymous said...

Paul and company how much more shit do the villagers have to throw at the unincorporated residents.

Thanks to all of you we have to pay for all to receive the fruits of our labor.

I think you are pushing us more and more to start a campaign to become our own village.
We have to break away from incompetent rulers such as the supervisor and the board.

Nat Cohen said...

Thanks Mr. Samis!!

Thanks for a reasonable view and good "broadcast" of the rencontre at the GPL.

Yonkers is already closed on Sunday and White Plains is starting its closings Sunday, January 25 the.
Facts indicate that tax revenues will continue to decline, not only in Greenburgh but all around us at least for the foreseeable future.
I do not see the man who walks on water fixing our economic problems.
As a country and a town we are confronted with an once a generation recession. This is a serious situation and the pills to swallow are not going to be sweet.
Solutions are going to be tough and not pleasantly accepted by residents and/or employees.
Eventually, Greenburgh and the GPL Board will have to grab the bull by the horns and asses if they can absorb the additional cost and services as a result of other town’s cut-backs, it is not going to be easy.

1) Unincorporated Greenburgh should incorporate, but I do not see residents seriously taking the initiative.

2) Tax rate for the GPL is still lower than other area libraries, it should be raise to comparables, and like the Board of Education all GPL Board members and its budget put on the ballot.

3) Unless you dismantle government mandates, you cannot run any governmental operation as a business unless you are talking about GM, Ford, Chrysler - examples of irresponsible mandated legacy practices, or we run a Mad off investment strategy, Enron style accounting, MCI WorldCom business strategy, Lehmann Brothers best practices, Bear Stearns risk management, SEC supervision and enforcement, Citi’s CEO Pandit board of directors meeting from golf course (after receiving 300 billion from tax payers), Bill Ryan Westchester County Board of legislators who wants an “assessed adjustment of compensation” of 30% all while his assistant is cheating taxpayers.
I can go on and on. So after looking at all that, top it with the testimony of Alan Greenspan in front of Congress, I look at your comments and I see Paul Feiner as near as perfect as imperfection comes.

Good luck and Good night!!!

Anonymous said...

I think Elmsford was intelligent in joining Ardsley's library. Cheaper rate for exactly the same services (WLS therefore can use any library) - How can you blame them for seeking a better deal?

Anonymous said...

Samis doesn't pay for the library either. He's a renter with an ax to grind.

Oh please. Included in rent paid to a landlord is a portion that goes to pay taxes. Do you actually believe that Samis' landlord feels the he/she alone should carry the brunt of paying them?

Samis just may be smarter than 2/3 of TOV who made bad investments here by buying.

calling dr. samis said...

samis has an axe and a scalpel and he is putting them to good use showing time after time how the town board is wasting our tax dollars.

we need dr. samis and his axe on the board.

hal samis said...

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water department

Sent to the Town Board, just now.

"Residents of Greenburgh are wondering about the news blackout regarding the Library status in a post Triton/Al Regula era.

It is my understanding that Triton, the Construction Manager is no longer on the job. Mr. Regula, serving as the Town Board's eyes and years, is of course no longer being retained for this purpose. But then, he didn't know anything when he being paid to know.

Nevertheless, the Library expansion project is by no measure finished despite its heralded grand opening in December to accommodate the departing Trustees seeking their moment in the sun.
And to be perfectly clear, in this writing I am not talking about what the public expected to see in its Library of the Future but what is still uncompleted from the work presumed to be underway.

Does the Town Board believe that the project is done? That all the problems have gone away?

I would like to know the availability of a current "punch list", the colorful name for what still has to be done. In line with this is the question: who is going to do it; who is going to supervise it and who is going to sign off on it?

Has the Town Board seen all the change orders that exist? Has the Town Board voted to approve all that it has seen? Are there change orders that have yet to reach the Town Board? Would it be too much to ask if the Town Board has agreed to such changes as may still exist before they have been executed?

How much uncommitted money remains in the project budget? And does this cover all contingent liabilites that are known to exist?

What is being done about the unresolved delay claim of around $240,000. It is my understanding that no money has been allocated for this in even the increased budget. Should the Town have to honor this claim, where is the money coming from to pay it? The Town's legal position is somewhat compromised with the Town Board having previously voted to approve a change order for at an increased cost due to delays. Having already acknowledged a delay and causing taxpayers to pay a premium for that delay, it would seem to be a problem for the Town Board in denying that other contractors were not affected by this delay or that a delay did not exist.

Who is running the show. For example, separating the children's area from the rest of the library, glass panels are supposed to be installed in frames to surpress the noise from spilling into the adult areas. Staff members of the library have acknowledged that the glass has been ordered (why this was not ordered earlier in the process is itself a mystery) and if this is true, it will arrive someday. What happens next? Does it remain in the receiving area unopened packaging? Who is supposed to perform the installation? Who do you complain to if unhappy with the work? The auditorium is lacking a wall-mounted movie screen and a sound system. These too are "on order". Who is doing the installation? Lacking the punch list, who has a handle on the magnitude of the work yet to be done?

And, it is my understanding that the Library solicited and received a grant for $125,000 for the circulation desk. This money is not manna from heaven and was disbursed from funds accumulated from New York State tax collections. The circulation desk in use as the Library did not cost $125,000 and, if even costing $25,000, the Library was robbed. Nevertheless, if $125,000 was the extent of the grant, then I shall be pursuing this further both from the Library's application and the fulfillment points of origin.

So, in the verbal stylings of resident Pat Weems, I need to have my concerns answered. And don't tell me that there is no one in charge."

dr. samis - needed in greenburgh said...

i see dr. samis now has added a microscope to his arsenal.

if you want samis to run for town board - this is the place to encourage him to do so.

if mr feiner runs again (lol)- he would be very wise to add samis to his slate or better, the samis slate.

two things are certain - juettner and sheehan have to go.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't anon at 2:28 willing to take Samis at this word that he's not offering to serve on any town board. That he understands his one vote wouldn't make any difference. Why doesn't anon at 2:28 understand that replacing Juettner and Sheehan, but leaving Feiner (with Morgan and Brown) changes nothing in Greenburgh? Anon at 2:28 must think the rest of us are pretty stupid. Betcha anon at 2:28 lives in a village. Samis, for all his axes, scalpels and microscopes, hasn't shown he can work with anybody on anything -- and he's proud of it. Time to move on.

samis basher all wet said...

re: Why isn't anon at 2:28 willing to take Samis at this word that he's not offering to serve on any town board.

huh ?

when did samis ever say that?

re: That he understands his one vote wouldn't make any difference.

samis is quite effective and persuasive because he does his homework and asks questions. in fact mr bernstein of edgemont recently stated at the 12/18 town board meeting he agreed with mr. samis. in fact, bernstein and samis have agreed often in the past. samis has been active in a number of greenburgh civic associations for years - albeit as an independent. he is a democratic district leader. yes, he is not sweetness and cream, but thats what got us in trouble - saying yes to everything like valhalla and westhab (another issue where samis was at the top of his game).

re: why doesn't anon at 2:28 understand that replacing Juettner and Sheehan, but leaving Feiner (with Morgan and Brown) changes nothing in Greenburgh?

getting rid of juettner and sheehan are just the start - the key is getting samis on the board.
lets not make the perfect the enemy of the good. rome wasnt built in a day.


re: Anon at 2:28 must think the rest of us are pretty stupid.

perhaps you are - having supported and voted for juettner and sheehan until you woke up.


re: Betcha anon at 2:28 lives in a village.

last i checked, village residents get to vote for the town board too - in fact, we are getting socked this year with a double digit tax increase.

re: Samis, for all his axes, scalpels and microscopes, hasn't shown he can work with anybody on anything -- and he's proud of it. Time to move on.

if you mean move out of greenburgh - thats probably wise. what the town board needs is someone who can say no to the hare-brained ideas of feiner and sheehan and the incomptence of nobodies like the other three including diana the sphinx juettner.

what the town board needs is someone who wont run from problems or pretend they dont exist.

lets face it anon - you got no one - you have had juettner for 18 years, sheehan for three and morgan and brown for two - if samis doesnt work out - then vote him off - samis is far superior to what we have.

seems anon is afraid of samis because samis is not beholden to anyone. samis is his own man. samis, who has nothing to gain, has spent countless hours working to improve the town.

samis is a voice of reason and integrity. its time to support him.

Anonymous said...

Gee, Mr. Villager, you got a double digit town tax increase? Actually you didn't, but so what. At most your average town taxes this year went up by only $10 to $110. Those of us in unincorporated have seen our town taxes go up last year and this by more than 30%, or around $1,000.

And you think the answer is Samis? Check his blog entry on 1/4/09 at 5:22 p.m. on the ethics board where he explains for the upteenth time why he doesn't serve on boards. And what "number of civic associations" has Samis ever been involved in? Get real. He hasn't.

The last thing taxpayers in unincorporated Greenburgh need right now is a joker from the villages telling us what to do. Last election, the villages supported Feiner and his slate by a wide margin. As a result, we got Feiner, Morgan and Brown for two years, and if you have your way, we'll have the three of them for four years. Maybe that's good for you, Mr. Villager, but it ain't good for us.

What we do need are viable candidates who are ready willing and able to take on Feiner and whoever runs with him.

samis bashing very silly said...

anon - you say you need:

"viable candidates who are ready willing and able to take on Feiner and whoever runs with him."

well i watch the town board meetings and who else has gone after feiner's town board on the library, westhab, the ethics board, the police department, the arts curator, the messengers, exposure, the budget, etc as consistently and as smartly as hal samis?

samis goes to the library board meetings. samis goes to the council of greenburgh civic association meetings. he goes to the town democratic party meetings.

there are no sacred cows in samisworld.

what is the purpose of all this people bashing?

show us where samis has been wrong on anything? the town board certainly cannot. even bob bernstein said recently samis was right.

samis deserves to be on the town board - while careerist hacks like juettner and mr sheehanigans do not.

the straw man you keep putting up is samis strutting alone on the dais. samis is the start.

its painfully obvious you have no one else.

its time for you to move on and admit he is the only game in town just a few months before the nomination process begins.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 5:01: Samis isn't shy. If he is running for town board, town supervisor or whatever, he should say so. Can't imagine he needs some anonymous backbencher from the villages to egg him on. But if he's not, your comments aren't very helpful.

Anonymous said...

It is a fact that Mr. Samis was offered to serve in different boards in the last year and he came out with the excuse: I do not have a car to attend the meetings.

Basically, screw you, who do you think I am, I have a driver to bring me to all other meetings not the ones you want to appoint me.

hal samis said...

Golly 7:43, you really showed me up, how can I ever apologize?

After all, I'm a licensed driver who does not own an automobile. Should I apologize also to Detroit for their travail as the result.

And I had been hoping that Paul would give me a certificate of appreciation for my low carbon profile.

But you're right, this not driving is a weak excuse, not even approaching the level of a note from my doctor.

Often, to get to and from Town meetings I so selfishly attend, I depend on "the kindness of strangers" but more often from anyone going my way who is at the meeting. Sometimes I have missed meetings because of a lack of transportation. Sometimes I have even dared to leave before the meeting ends because my ride is leaving.

Please, not the whip.

My compensation for attending these meetings is $0 from which I pay "my driver" $0, tip included.

So I can understand your reasoning that I am screwing everyone, thinking only of myself by not serving on a board and instead choosing which meetings I want to attend when depending upon favors to get home.

Please, please don't send the boogie man.

Maybe if I sucked up to the Town Board they would put me on their list of friends allowed to use Town cars overnight on unofficial business.

Had I been on the Library Board, maybe I could tool around Greenburgh in the cybermobile, 0 to 60 in three minutes. Cool!

Or maybe anonymous, I'm getting it all wrong. This is all about your shy way of asking me to ride you.

attacks on samis explained said...

there has been no more effective critic of the feiner board (and thats all five of them) than samis. while others were still holding hands with juettner and having secret meetings with sheehan, samis was on to these two frauds long before everyone else got on the band wagon that they were carbon copies of feiner. samis from the start was a forceful critic of feiner and his press release approach to government, but when the library issue raised its head, samis saw that feiner was right on this one and tried to work with him. feiner's true colors were soon enough shown on things like westhab/fulton park and his budget priorities.


time has proven that samis was right on the library - the new building is an architectural fiasco that will probably be closed as often as it is open.

but for feiner's critics (mostly in the ecc), electing samis is not in their interest. they would rather the town continue it downward spiral with the hope (more like a fantasy) that three "viable" candidates would emerge to slay feiner and his accolytes.


sorry ecc - the journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.

better to light a candle than curse the darkness.
one further suspects that the ecc's real interest is incorporation (another highly unlikely event) so , to borrow another phrase - ecc's thinking is things will not get better until they get worse.

samis on the board is chance that things will improve.

for the ecc and its grandees, this is not in their interest.

as for the rest of the town - electing samis is good politics.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 6:43 doesn't seem to know what the Edgemont Community Council (ECC) is or what it does. We do not get involved in town elections or town politics, although some of our members do. I don't think the name Hal Samis has ever once come up in any of our monthly meetings. I'd be surprised if anyone except perhaps a few even know who he is. Is Hal Samis going to restore police and sanitation services to the level we used to have in Edgemont? If he's a candidate for office, I'd like to hear what he's going to do rather than the litany of things he's opposed.

Anonymous said...

Dear 7:48 did you just move here .
Hal Samis has ben the voice of many of the residents throughout Greenburgh for a long time.
Have you ever attended any meetings ?
He has attended any board meeting that was of interest.
Check out when meetings will be held and one will thank Samis for being so elequent in his views of how this town has filed each and every resident wheter it's the library,centers,DPW,parks and even at times the PD.
YES THAT'S SAMIS.
He has very good company with many that take the same initiative as Preiser,Krauss ,Bernstein
Rettinger and many others to name.

samis of greenburgh said...

1. lets not forget the great maria gomez of fulton park

2. trust me, anon knows samis - he is just undercover somewhere near the hartsdale train station perhaps

Anonymous said...

Sorry Maria yes you too should be on the town board.
MAybe you should run for supervisor if Samis refuses.
We all have to start real soon to defeat the ticket that is planning to run for reelection.

call berger said...

call suzanne berger - head of greenburgh democrats

demand that she give samis a chance - 20 years of juettner woudl be an outrage


i just hope she will return the call - something she failed to do during her lackluster campaign

samis - you have to speak to the demo district leaders too - asap

Anonymous said...

We should have more cuts in the police and sanitation depts

Anonymous said...

Paul who are you to stop the public from using your famous white elephant.

The title is PUBLIC library.

Have no fear PAUL IT CAN'T SURVIVE .

Anonymous said...

Dear 11:59 or should i say hal

draft samis said...

we need samis on the town board.

call your district leaders and push to draft samis.

show some courage. its your tax dollar

Troutline said...

Aww but I been told that WLS is not a mediator and does not enforce the WLS by-laws, as the Westchester libraries are not branches under any WLS enforcement but independent libraries,who operate under their own elected policies. Theirs no existing common WLS jurisdiction between them or their operations.
Once I made reference to the by- laws and Questioned what obligation off compliance existed. I was told by the WLS Bedford district appointee,. none, That they were simply WLS suggestion for recommended policies for each library to elect po