Salem may consider library board make-up again

library books-sxc-sanja gjeneroThe Salem Town Board is not done with considering the make-up of the Community Library Board.

Chairman Linda Valentine said she will put the issue on the November meeting agenda for consideration.

Meanwhile, the board heard from town attorney Richard Scholze that state statutes do require that if a new agreement is written for the library, it should have the board representation apportioned by population of the member municipalities. That would entitle Salem to four representatives. Each member municipality — Salem, Randall, Twin Lakes, Paddock Lake and Silver Lake — currently has two representatives on the board. Under a population-apportioned board, some municipalities would likely lose members.

Though Scholze’s legal opinion was a population apportioned board would be proper in the case of a new agreement, his advice was for the  municipalities to work out a mutually acceptable arrangement. He said there were no provisions in the state statute for a penalty if a joint library board was not apportioned by population.

“I don’t want to see the town take some kind of action that leaves it without a library,” Scholze said.

Supervisor Patrick O’Connell, a library board member, supports keeping the current representation. He added that the library has feedback that the state stautue calling for population-based representation would not be enforced by the state.

“We’ve been told that if all the municipalities agree, no one’s going to force it at the state level,” O’Connell said.

Randall, Twin Lakes and Silver Lake’s boards have all passed the same resolution saying they favor the current representation. Salem passed a less formal resolution favoring not changing the current make-up last month. Paddock Lake has not voted on such a resolution.

Valentine said the matter will be retained on the agenda for another month because of actions that are playing out within the library. She also expressed her personal support for changing the board representation system.

“I don’t think we should leave it the way it is,” Valentine said.


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