Residents Criticize Library Board For Ignoring Bylaws (VIDEO)

Community members criticize board’s attitude toward the public and disregard for following bylaws


Former New City Library Board Trustee Harry Bloomfeld said that a directive issued by the board president at the September meeting prohibiting community members from reading written statements was wrong.  

“This is a public meeting and you have no right to infringe on the right of the public,” he said at the Thursday meeting.

Current Board President Joseph Reiter then suggested that the remarks, which Bloomfeld read, had been written by Trustee Jeffrey Greenberg.  Several other residents spoke up and said that Bloomfeld’s words were his own. 

Bloomfeld took issue with the board’s appointment of Christian Cortelli to finish the term of Aney Paul, who resigned in August. He said the board ignored the library’s bylaws when its members by a majority vote appointed Cortelli who did not have a New City Library card at the time. Former library employee Nancy Mahan told the trustees they were displaying  “blatant disregard” for the library’s constitution and bylaws. 

Board members did not respond to the comments made by the speakers.  After the public comment period, they moved onto a discussion of the September meeting’s minutes and their accuracy. The debate took about 40 minutes with trustees continually interrupting each other and talking over each other. 

Terri Thal explained the minutes are tape-recorded and the library’s administrative assistant, Barbara DuBois, and board secretary, Ed Kallen, both take notes.  The procedure requires DuBois to draft the minutes and Kallen to review them before they are given to the board for approval.  Reiter said this is the fourth meeting that the minutes were incorrect. A vote on accepting the minutes failed to pass by a three to four vote. 

The board heard updates on applications submitted for trustee seats and the search for a new executive director. Anthony Feliciano, chair of the Nominating Committee said he received four applications from candidates interested in running for the library board. He said the committee reached out to all the candidates by phone and email and interviews with two were taking place this coming weekend.

“I am requesting for a special board meeting this following week so the committee can report its recommendations to the board,” said Feliciano. No date was set for the meeting.

One of the applicants is Martus Granirer, a former trustee who ran but was not reelected last December.  Feliciano said he also had Cortelli’s application but had to find out if sitting trustees had to be interviewed.  Kallen, whose term is up in December, said he is running for reelection. However, Thal said she was not running again. Anyone interested in running for trustee can still submit a petition by Nov. 12 with the signatures of 20 New City Library cardholders.

Tom Ninan, chair of the New Director Search Committee, said more than 20 resumes had been received and he had distributed them to the committee members for review. The committee is composed of two library union members, one management representative and three trustees. The committee members were asked to select the top three candidates and a possible fourth.

Ninan said the committee would meet again in a week or two and determine which are the three leading candidates who should be interviewed. He said resumes would be accepted until the next committee meeting.  Previously Ninan said a new director could be hired by the end of the year. 

Christian Cortelli October 20, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Thank you to the Patch for covering this story and thank you for everybody who attended last night's meeting. I would like to point out, that the by-laws are ambiguous, at best, about who is eligible to be appointed to the board and what the definition of a library card holder is. The entire board voted on this issue in September and the majority opinion was that I am eligible. I assure the residents of the New City Library District, that I am eligible to be a trustee. This is not, however, about library cards, it's about politicians attempting to stay in power and keeping us out. Fellow citizens, it is time for a change. Help me me make a change and vote on December 12. CJCortelli@yahoo.com
Christine Ma October 23, 2012 at 01:44 PM
So much for being an honest cop. I read the bylaws and they are pretty clear that a board member should have a New City Library card. Yes it is time for a change. Board members that violate their own bylaws should be dismissed for unethical behavior. They didn't just do it once, but they ignored the bylaws twice in the same meeting.


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