Randall supervisor urges library supporters to attend Salem Town Board meeting Monday


UPDATE 5:44 a.m., Friday: Comment from Salem Town Chairman Linda Valentine now added.

Municipal officials often urge more members of the public to attend their proceedings.

But rarely do they go as far as to advocate that their citizens attend the meetings of other municipalities.

But that is what Randall Supervisor Ken Mangold did Thursday night. Mangold urged Randall residents who support the Community Library to attend the Salem Town Board meeting Monday to voice support for continuing equal representation on the Community Library Board.

Last week, representatives of the five municipalities that participate in the Community Library and their attorneys met to discuss recently discovered changes in state stautes that may suggest the library board should have representatives in proportion to the population of each of its municipalities.

Since 1992, each of the five municipalities have had two members on the library board. If arranged by proportion, the smallest municipalities — Silver Lake, Paddock Lake and Randall —  would each lose a board member and all three of those members would be added to Salem’s contingent. Twin Lakes would retain two representatives, Mangold explained. Randall and Twin Lakes together would still provide about 47 percent of the funding, but have only 20 percent of the representation, he said.

“Obviously, that is of grave concern to us,” Mangold said. “We don’t want to lose our voice over our tax dollars.”

The agenda for the Salem Town Board meeting was not available Thursday evening. (Note: I have an email message in to Salem Town Chairman to see if the matter is indeed on the agenda — DH). Salem Town Chairman Linda Valentine said the matter will be on the Salem Town Board agenda Monday. She added that she felt her town’s board needed to discuss the issues involved.

“In shorthand, they want two votes when they are by statute entitled to one  and I think that (the Salem Town Board) should discuss whether they want four or only two,” Valentine said in an emailed statement.

Valentine also said she personally is opposed to Salem having less representation than it is entitled to, but she is open to compromise, perhaps giving Salem more representatives, but not as many as statutes say they could have.

“If the town of Salem were to go the route of representation per the bylaws right now, and not as the status is right now, which (Randall Chairman) Bob Stoll, (Twin Lakes President) Howard Skinner, (Paddock Lake President) Marlene Goodson and (Silver Lake President) Roger Johnson want to do, then we would not be representing the population of the town of Salem by half  their entitlement while the other groups would have double what they are entitled to,” Valentine said. “… I find that non-representative and it runs opposite what I feel is reasonable.”

Attorneys from the municipalities other than Salem believe a legal argument can be made that the 1992 Community Library agreement that calls for a equal board takes precedent over later changes because it was legal when it was enacted, Mangold said.


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