At Thursday’s New City Library Board session trustees agreed to remove the hiring freeze in place since April. Then after an executive session following the public meeting, they reconvened and with three votes in favor and one against appointed Library Assistant Two Jo Anne Stein as temporary accounts clerk to fill the vacant position.
Trustees Ed Kallen, Terri Thal and Jeffrey Greenberg described that action as illegal and sent a letter this morning to the board president, board trustees and interim library director outlining their objections about the board’s circumvention of legal guidelines and calling for a special meeting on Monday, July 30.
Kallen, who refused to vote and left the meeting, wrote that he “advised the Board that it did not have the authority to hire or fire any Library employee except the Library Director.”
Thal cast the lone vote against the hiring. Greenberg was absent from the meeting, signed the letter. Trustees Tom Ninan, Olahannan Poulose and Matthew Mulrooney voted in favor of hiring Stein.
The letter states, “Our by-laws and the Education Law are clear; the board exceeded its authority when it hired Ms. Stein. The Director has the sole responsibility to hire or fire staff members. The Board of Trustees does not."
Stein declined to accept the job. Based on Thursday’s vote, she would have started the 60-day, full time position today.Stein, who has worked at the library since 1989, holds the position of treasurer of the New City Library Staff Association.
On Friday, Board President Joseph Reiter said the board felt the library could not do without a bookkeeper or business manager. The previous accounts clerk left in August 2011.
“We had to do something right away,” said Reiter. “The decision was to hire a bookkeeper."
had submitted her resignation on July 3 effective for July 31. With unused vacation time, Ellis’ final working day was last Thursday. Reiter said the board was notified about Ellis’ retirement after the Personnel & Finance Committee met on Monday, July 16.
Reiter said Trustee Tom Ninan submitted Stein’s name at the executive session, which was the only one submitted for the position. Stein’s resume was not provided to the trustees during the executive session. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and has paralegal experience.
According to Reiter, Trustee Jeffrey Greenberg approached the library’s accounting firm to find out if they had someone available to fill the position. Reiter said he emailed several people to see if anyone was interested. Reiter said people were not interested because the position is temporary.
Reiter said based on her longevity with the library, Stein’s salary as accounts clerk would range between $56.640 and $59,472.
Ellis had said at Thursday’s meeting that the accounts clerk position had been posted and several resumes submitted but the enactment of the hiring freeze in April prevented her from interviewing anyone.
Reiter said he is planning to hold a special meeting on August 2 at 8 p.m. to discuss the vacancy.
"I'm planning on doing what the board wants to do," said Reiter.