MASSENA Tuesday night was the beginning of a new era at the Massena Public Library.
The board of trustees convened for the first time since being appointed by the Massena Town Council. Robert Manning, Emily Hutchison, John Jack Bain, Linda McDonald and Mark Englert replaced the previous board of John Acton, Richard Geiser, Pamela Ouimet, Lisa J. Bero and Barbara DeLine.
Its a historic situation, interim Director Paul L. Schaffer said. Within a few months, an entire board of directors resigned.
The Town Council voted to close the library for three days last month because there was no board and no director, as Lynn M. Fountain had also resigned. The library reopened when the council appointed Mr. Schaffer to serve on an interim basis.
All five members said they volunteered after hearing of the turmoil on the previous board and the resulting library closure.
Its a library. Its supposed to be peaceful and calm, Mr. Bain said. Lets get rid of the drama, get back to business and move on.
How do we ensure the best services to meet the communitys needs with the budget we have? Ms. Hutchison said.
Mr. Englert said his job as a village police officer inspired him to volunteer.
My employment brings me in contact with some youth that could use an activity rather than the criminal mischief at our wooden park, he said.
Mr. Schaffer, who served as the library director for several years before retiring a little more than a year ago, guided the board through the meeting. He explained the librarys organizational structure, distributed manuals and handbooks, shared data on budget numbers, circulation reports and the employees union contract and informed them of open meetings laws and appropriate grounds for executive session. The board went into executive session at the end to discuss hiring a director to replace Ms. Fountain, but took no action afterward.
The board elected Mr. Englert as president, Mr. Bain as vice president, Ms. McDonald as treasurer and Ms. Hutchison as secretary. Members also unanimously voted to appoint Patricia Guay to a vacant library page position for $9.14 an hour. Ms. Guay will work seven hours per week, Mr. Schaffer said.
The board held off on filling a vacant part-time clerk position, but agreed hiring for the page should help the staff with any shortages caused by the vacancies.
It will take a little bit of the pressure off the whole staff, Mr. Manning said.
The board also voted 4-1, with Mr. Englert dissenting, to hire Northway Carpet & Floor Center of Massena to clean the librarys floors for an amount not to exceed $1,000. Mr. Schaffer said the librarys carpets had not been cleaned in two or three years and Northway had completed the service before.
Mr. Englert said he dissented because he wanted more information about different cleaning firms.
A past business relationship might not be the most fiscally responsible at this point, he said.
A moment underscoring the meetings unusual circumstances came when the board approved the previous two meetings minutes written by Ms. Bero. One of the meetings was when Ms. Bero revealed Mr. Geiser had pressed misconduct charges against her, while the other was when Mr. Acton and Mr. Geiser resigned.
Were approving minutes for a meeting none of us were at, Ms. Hutchison said.