There seems to be some confusion about how an association library’s trustee model relates to employee pensions. The quote below from Kevin Verbesey, Director of the Suffolk Cooperative Library System, should set the record straight:
As you know there are some association libraries in Suffolk County, and around New York State, that have self-appointed boards and some that have publicly elected boards. Both models are perfectly legal.
There is no correlation whatsoever between the model a library chooses and the library’s pension costs. Self-appointed and elected boards would both be equally empowered to adjust salaries and benefits as they see fit and/or through collective bargaining.
In April 2015 the self-appointed board of the Westhampton Free Library produced a 14-page Report on the Selection of Trustees
defending their appointments and denying taxpayers the right to vote for trustees. They solicited zero community input. If you take the time to read the Report, note how it is basically an opinion piece.
The board cited civil service concerns as the main reason to deny taxpayers the right to vote. As you can see from the NYS Department of Education documents below, civil service concerns are unfounded. In addition, NYSED explains how an association library with self-appointed trustees can easily change to an elected board. (Note: Though given these documents, our Library’s appointed trustees specifically chose not to cite them in their Report on the Selection of Trustees.)
We have a private, closed club of self-appointed trustees at the Westhampton Free Library responsible for millions of our tax dollars. Why are the self-appointed trustees clinging so strongly to remaining appointed? America prides itself on its democratic ideals and values, on representation with our taxation. Appointed isn’t American.