Possible Conflict of Interest at the Westhampton Free Library?

After the latest Hampton Bays Library article on 27east.com concerning the two failed building bond referendums in less than ten months and what Plan C might be for the library, many comments consider conflicts of interest with the library trustees.

In my opinion, when you have unelected, self-appointed trustees at association libraries funded by millions of tax dollars, like the Hampton Bays and Westhampton libraries, the situation is ripe with appearances of impropriety or conflicts of interest.  I am not in any way saying there is any outright impropriety at either the Westhampton or Hampton Bays libraries but self-appointments make you naturally wonder.

In Westhampton Beach Village Mayor Maria Moore was elected.  Her husband though, Tom Moore, was APPOINTED to be the president of the Westhampton Free Library board in October 2015–by Mayor Moore’s campaign manager, Joan Levan, a self-appointed Westhampton Free Library trustee who resigned under allegations of power abuse. Mayor Maria Moore simultaneously sat on the unelected Westhampton Library board as well while she was WHB Village Mayor, until she resigned in August 2015.  We now have a husband/wife team in the small village of WHB responsible for MILLIONS of tax dollars. If MR. Moore was ELECTED by the people, so be it.  This current situation could be considered a possible conflict of interest.

Both the Village and the Library are using H2M Architects for sewer/Main Street revitalization and library expansion/first floor redesign work (the Library building is BRAND NEW). Both WHB Village and the Library use the same outside attorney.  My Village tax bill is completely separate from my Town of Southampton tax bill which has a specific line item for the Westhampton Free Library–so it’s not as if the Village and the Library are supposed to “share.”

Our Library’s self-appointed board of friends has 3 attorneys on it, of 6 trustees total.  And two teachers.  Diverse? No. And the board uses our tax dollars to hire other attorneys to deny us our right to vote for library trustees.

Currently, there are at least three “trustee applications” on file at the Westhampton Library to fill the spot on the board that has been vacant since November 2015.  The present self-appointed library board feels these three individuals do not meet any of their esoteric needs nor have the proper temperament to sit alongside them as they govern our community library and collect our millions of tax dollars. By the way, the majority of Long Island association libraries moved to elected boards, some decades ago.

Lastly, these association libraries exist as private corporations based on the libraries’ founding charters.  Westhampton Library’s charter is from 1897.  NO OUTSIDE BODY WHATSOEVER has any authority over these association libraries with self-appointed boards. Truly, we are paying subjects to a kingdom of oligarchs. #TaxationWithoutRepresentationIsWrong

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