Steve Wisnoski was just self-appointed to the Westhampton Free Library’s private governing club–ahem, board of trustees. Three teachers, three attorneys, one insurance agent. Friends appoint friends and spend your tax dollars.
The WH Library is taxpayer funded with over $4 million cash in the bank and an over $3 million annual operating budget–and the self-appointed trustees will not change the bylaws (based on an 1897 charter) to allow for trustee elections.
17 of 24 Long Island association libraries now have elected boards. Why doesn’t Westhampton? #TaxationWithoutRepresentationIsWrong
(Just for reference–my Westhampton Beach family pays nearly $600/per year in a direct, line item Westhampton Free Library tax on a modestly priced home for our area. But we have no say in who governs the library.)
Budget Vote Results: The Westhampton Free Library budget passed 360-185. The school budget passed as well, 448-99.
Thank you to those who voted no to the library budget because they agreed that taxation without representation is wrong, $4 million cash already in the bank was enough, and we don’t need to renovate our new building. Maybe next year the budget put forth by self-appointed trustees will be defeated. Please click our News tab above for more information.
Public Design Charrettes were held on January 11 and February 15, 2017–months when no one is here–regarding the renovation of the attic using Ann Skovek’s $1.3 million donation. The next charrette was to discuss the REDESIGN OF THE LIBRARY’S FIRST FLOOR on April 12–during the school district’s spring break. Does the Library actually want public input? I attended the January and February meetings. Everything is basically all decided. Perhaps the taxpaying patrons will get to vote on the paint colors.
The Westhampton Free Library is an association library that still maintains a self-appointed, unelected trustee board. Only 6 of 19 Suffolk County association libraries still cling to this governing structure though it’s undemocratic and un-American to have zero elections at a taxpayer-funded institution. Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right.
No more taxation without representation. NYS legislators need to step in and put an end to self-appointments at taxpayer funded association libraries.
Contrast the upcoming Westhampton Free Library expansion & renovation on a brand new building with The Sag Harbor Library’s Expansion that was Led by an Elected Board, Community Leaders and Residents.
Below is a detail from the June 2016 Westhampton Free Library Audit. Notice the accumulation of TAX DOLLARS over and above Ms. Skovek’s donation to be used for capital projects. Self-appointed trustees selected these projects; the projects do not go out for a community vote, like school district turf and lights, for example. An elected official does not appoint our Library trustees; they appoint each other, that’s why it’s a private, closed club.
Please read The Joke is on Your Hard-Earned Dollars as well as a copy of my recent Letter to the Editor, published in The Southampton Press, 1/12/17, Clinging to Power. Also, The Library’s Slush Fund and Voting Members of the Association Explained.
Quick question: Why not use the $1.3 Skovek donation to pay down the outstanding building bond instead of renovating our 7 year old building? If there’s a pre-payment penalty prior to June 2018 (something mentioned about that in the February board meeting), save the money to pay the bond next year then. Six self-appointed trustees alone run the show. They alone decide who may join their private Library governing club. They alone earmarked millions of our tax dollars for a parking lot, renovations on the first floor of a new building, a new HVAC system, budget stabilization, etc. There are no trustee elections and no community capital project votes.
Cartoon is from October 2015. Yes, there have been successes. Trustees have resigned, meetings moved to the evenings, and the employees voted in a union for rights and protections. However, the self-appointed trustee board of the Westhampton Free Library still remains. #TaxationWithoutRepresentationIsWrong
In the 4/13/17 edition of The Press, Phil Keith says in his editorial “Are Libraries Obsolete?“: “I do agree that the public should have some say in who sits on the board governing any and all community libraries. Publicly elected boards, are, in fact, more common than appointed or volunteer boards.” Yes!! Further affirmation of our mission! See our post for more information.
This Viewpoint piece, written by a wise, intelligent and prominent community member and copied in its entirety from the November 19, 2015, edition of The Southampton Press, is still relevant today.
New York State Library guidelines display under Community Involvement in Association Libraries the “Public can join association and may vote for trustees.”
The Board of Appointed Trustees of the Westhampton Free Library is not allowing taxpayers to join the association. The six appointed trustees are the only “members” of our association library (Voting Members of the Association Explained). Please keep this in mind when the Library starts renovating the 7-year-old building.
Thousands of taxpayers fund the library with multi-millions of dollars yet just six appointed trustees will select which individual is deemed worthy to serve on the board along with them.
Suffolk County: 68% of association libraries have elected boards
Nassau County: 80% of association libraries have elected boards
Long Island: 71% of association libraries have elected boards
What civil service and prevailing wage issues have plagued any of these Long Island association libraries with elected boards, some for decades, Appointed President Moore? None. Why isn’t that in your 14 page Report of the Selection of Trustees?
For information on how the Appointed Trustees of the Westhampton Not-Free Library Kingdom retain absolute, unelected power read Your Tax $$$ Being Spent to Deny Your Vote, Democracy Hijacked, False Statements and Opinions, and Why Vote No to the Westhampton Free Library Budget Increase