As an advocate of our excellent Middletown Township library system, I am very concerned about the ordinance being presented at Monday’s (12/19/11) Township Committee Meeting regarding the addition of two Library Board members. This ordinance
allows for the current seven member Board to be expanded to nine members as appointed by the mayor and his governing body. One Board member is the school Superintendant’s alternate pick (and therefore not chosen by the Township Committee).
Some may see this ordinance as a well intended gesture to “increase public participation” in the Library Board decision making process. However, based on the events of this past February, I am skeptical that the addition of two members is anything but a political move to put people in place to advance the agenda of the Township Committee.
Can we trust that the intention of this ordinance is not to divert money to the MTC budget when Committeeman Settembrino, in his role as Library Board member, pushed to have $500,000 transferred from the Library budget to the MTC budget, thereby depleting the library reserves? Mr. Settembrino acted in accordance with his role as a Committeeman to advocate for the taxpayer and provide property tax relief to our residents by plugging a budget hole with this money transfer. However, his action neglects his Library Board Trustee duty to be an advocate for a robust library system.
How can this new, larger Board remain independent when its members may be beholden to the desires of their appointees? The interests of the Township Committee may permeate this independent Board and take precedence over the best interests of the library and the public whom the Board is meant to serve.
The Library Board members must first and foremost be advocates of the library, and their fiduciary responsibility would require them to protect the library budget so that it meets the needs of the library and its patrons. Can we trust that Mr. Fiore will require his appointees to serve our needs, and not his own?
Thank you for all that you do to keep residents informed of the actions of their local government.
WASHINGTON— In this week’s address, President Obama expressed the gratitude of the entire nation to the brave men and women who have served in the war in Iraq, and welcomed our troops home as we mark the official end to the war. This historic achievement would not be possible without the skill and dedication of the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. They prove every day that when we come together, there is nothing we cannot do. Now it’s time to follow their example, put aside partisanship, and rebuild our economy so that every American who wants to work can find a job, and everyone has the opportunity to make it if they try.
Another double feature to get you in the holiday mood and ready to wrap all those presents that Santa didn’t bring.
The Night Before Christmas (Disney’s Silly Symphonies)