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May 5, 2016

Board of Trustees
Pound Ridge Library District
271 Westchester Avenue
Pound Ridge, NY 10576
Erin Trostle, President
Chad Ergun, Vice-President
Erin Regan, Secretary
Stacey Cleveland
Robert Fischer
Gerald Kaplan
Lena Nurenberg
Elisabeth Post-Marner
Treasurer Stephen J. Brussels
Re: To the Pound Ridge Library District.
Demand for an Accounting by the Board of Trustees.
From the Pound Ridge Taxpayers and Donors

Dear Members of the Board of Trustees:


The Pound Ridge Library District is a library district established in 2003 by special legislative action to
provide library services to the citizens of Pound Ridge. The citizens of Pound Ridge elect the Trustees of the
Library District (who put themselves forward as willing and capable public officers, worthy of the trust of the
citizens of Pound Ridge) to operate within the requirements of various laws, including the General Municipal
Law, the Education Law, the Civil Service Law, the Public Officers Law, and other applicable laws, in
overseeing the business affairs of the Library. Ultimately, the Trustees are responsible to the taxpayers, who
have control over spending and require transparency and accountability from the Board of Trustees.
Over the course of the past six months, the current Trustees, named above, have undertaken an
unprecedented expenditure of taxpayer funds to litigate a dispute between themselves and the Library Director,
Marilyn Tinter -- an individual with an unblemished and stellar forty-year record as Director of the Library -about the operation of the Library. Despite repeated requests for detailed disclosure of the expenditures for
outside counsel and HR consultants, the President of the Board has refused to provide this information for a
variety of what appear to be pretextual reasons.
Further, it is not known whether these requests to the President of the Board have been shared with other
members of the Board. There are also questions whether this Board has complied with its obligations under the

Public Officers Law relating to actions taken in executive session and the timely reporting of such actions to the
public within the requirements of Public Officers Law Section 106(2).
Accordingly, the undersigned taxpayers and donors formally seek a comprehensive and forthright
response to the questions that to date have gone unanswered by the Board.
This Petition demands accountability from the Trustees, collectively and individually, for their illconsidered actions in pursuing a costly hearing against the Library Director, which is damaging both to the
Pound Ridge community at large and to the individuals involved. By electing to pursue a hearing over alleged
transgressions that appear to be minor, if not inconsequential (even if they could be proven, which remains to be
determined), the Board of Trustees has squandered public funds and public good-will without apparent
justification. The Trustees have potentially put at risk the reputation of Pound Ridge as a bucolic, well-managed
community whose Library, to date, has been a key and vital public amenity generously supported by taxpayers
and donors.
We do not seek to anticipate the outcome of the hearing; rather, we question the judgment of the Board
and whether it has abused its discretion, and its compliance with its legal and fiduciary obligations in deciding to
subject the citizens of Pound Ridge, and the Library Director who has served us so well for so long, to this
needless and costly ordeal.
In order to assure that the Board of Trustees properly addresses the issues raised by this Petition, a copy
of this Petition is simultaneously being forwarded to the Pound Ridge Town Board, Pound Ridge Library
Foundation, Westchester Library System, the Journal News, the Record Review, Channel 12 News Westchester,
Verizon FiOS1 News, the Daily Voice, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney of the 18th Congressional District
and Francis T. Corcoran, County Legislator, District 2.
In the interest of full transparency, we urge the Board of Trustees to post this Petition on the Librarys
Website and include a reference to this Petition in the current library Newsletter. We believe that this Petition is a
material document affecting the Library District and should be communicated to all affected taxpayers and
donors of the Library.
To provide the accountability and transparency that we as citizens, taxpayers, donors and patrons expect
from the Trustees, we demand responses to the following:
1.
A review of the Minutes of the Meetings of the Board of Trustees over the past year suggests that the
Board may not have fully complied with the Open Meetings Law and the General Municipal Law with respect to
the requirement of publication of all actions taken by the Trustees during the general meeting and in executive
session, particularly with respect to the Boards decision to bring formal charges against the Library Director and
commence a hearing. Additionally, there appears to be no record of the full litigation costs that would be
incurred as part of this undertaking or the source of funding for the litigation.
The Trustees should confirm that the Minutes fully comply with the applicable provisions of the Open
Meetings Law, General Municipal Law and other applicable statutes, and that all Minutes comprehensively
record all actions taken by the Board, generally, and specifically with respect to the decision to take the matter
involving the Directors performance to a public hearing.
In responding to Item 1, the Trustees should provide a line-item accounting of all expenditures (whether
direct or indirect) incurred in connection with the litigation with the Library Director (including, but not limited
to, all attorney and non-lawyer costs charged by each law firm, (including travel time), witness costs, hearing
examiner costs, and other related costs), and a separate line-item accounting of all expenditures (whether direct
or indirect) incurred in connection with the investigation of the operations of the Library by Public Sector HR
Consulting, including, but not limited to, costs related to the preparation of all reports related thereto, and all

costs pertaining to the appearance at Board meetings, and elsewhere, of representatives of Public Sector HR
Consultants on behalf of the Library.
The Trustees should provide copies of all Minutes (and the dates they were prepared and disseminated)
relating to the decision to commence the hearing, and to retain counsel and outside consultants for this purpose.
2.
It appears that the Board did not identify perceived performance failures of the Library Director through
performance reviews, nor was there a plan of performance improvement in place to address those matters that
are now the subject of a public hearing. The Trustees should provide copies of all notifications to the Library
Director regarding the alleged performance issues that ultimately went to hearing, and should explain whether
these issues were previously raised in performance reviews, and if not, why not? The Board should identify the
specific provisions of the Civil Service Law relating to performance reviews it relied on, if any, to forego
issuance of a specific performance improvement plan with respect to the issues that are now the subject of a
public hearing.
3.
It appears that the Board may not have obtained written Requests for Proposals (RFPs) from prospective
service providers to provide professional assistance to assess the management of the Library. The Board should
explain the process it used to identify and engage service providers, and identify all service providers it
considered for the assignment. If it only considered Public Sector HR Consultants for the assignment, the Board
should explain why it did not seek additional proposals from other qualified service providers. It should also
explain how Public Sector HR Consultants was engaged? The Board should identify which Board Committee(s)
or individual Board Trustee(s) (including family members) handled the vetting and engagement of Public Sector
HR Consultants. Is there any prior or existing relationship between any Board Trustee (and any family member
of a Trustee) and Public Sector HR Consultants? What is the relationship between Public Sector HR Consultants
and the law firm handling the hearing? Why aren't copies of the contracts in the Board Minutes? The Board
should provide copies of all contracts it has entered into with professional service providers as part of its
response to this Item 3.
4.
The Minutes of the Board do not contain a record of the Boards process in deciding to engage the law
firm of Lamb and Barnosky in connection with the assessment of the management of the Library and
representation of the Board against the Library Director. The Board should explain the process it utilized to
engage Lamb and Barnosky, and identify how many other law firms were considered? What connections are
there between this law firm and any member of the Board, and/or a family member of a Board Trustee (or with
any prior Trustee or related person of such Trustee)? Why are there no Minutes of the interview process and a
copy of the law firm engagement letter in the Minutes? Why was a Long Island law firm chosen? Were any
Westchester County firms considered? What advice was given to the Board to proceed with charges against the
Library Director? Did the law firm provide alternative options to formal charges, such as disciplinary warnings,
etc. (if necessary) rather than the "nuclear" public hearing approach that is damaging both to the community and
the Library Director? Did the Board ask for alternatives from the law firm? What due diligence did the Board
undertake before deciding to embark on a hearing? Minutes of the Board are devoid of any discussion of this.
5.
The Board should explain the rationale for its decision to obtain indemnification agreements/ contracts
with insurance companies to protect itself from potential lawsuits by third parties (and employees of the Library)
for actions taken by it. Previous Boards of Trustees did not have such insurance. Why now, and whose idea? It
appears that the outside Treasurer and his entire firm were given a similar indemnification guarantee. Why was
this necessary and at what cost to taxpayers? Why are discussions, and a copy of both the outside Treasurer
contract, and the indemnification insurance contract, not in the Minutes? In responding to this Item 5, the
Trustees should provide copies of all insurance indemnification agreements and state the cost of each such
contract, and the line item under which these contracts will be paid.
6.
The Board should provide an explanation of why it hired yet another law firm to change the Library's
fiscal year, and why has the fiscal year change taken so long to accomplish? How many lawyers (and law firms)

does this small, district library have on retainer, and at what cost? Which committee of the Board is responsible
for the hiring of outside vendors (for any purpose), and who are the individual members of this committee(s).
Are there any relationships between this law firm and any individual member of the Board, or a family member
related to a Board Trustee, or any prior Trustee or related family member? The Trustees should provide the
name of the law firm engaged to change the Librarys fiscal year, an explanation of how the law firm was
selected, how many other law firms were interviewed for this assignment, and whether an RFP was used in the
selection process. In responding to this Item 6, the Trustees should provide the total legal costs to date (whether
they occurred in the current fiscal year or in any preceding fiscal year) relating to the change in the Librarys
fiscal year, the name of the Board Committee or individual Trustee charged with monitoring this process, and
whether the change in fiscal year has been completed, and if not, why not.
7.
The Board should provide an explanation of why the public hearing is in the best interests of the Library
District, and consistent with the Boards fiduciary obligations to the taxpayers (as imposed on them by the
Education Law), to pursue the current public hearing which bears all the hallmarks of a personally motivated
vendetta at taxpayers cost.
8.
The Board should provide an explanation of the qualifications that each member of the Board feels
prepared him/her to take the decisions they have in the Board's exorbitant expenditure of taxpayer (and trust)
funds to fund the Boards claims against the Library Director.
9.
The Board should provide a specific accounting of all work so far performed (and the dates of
completion) by outside vendors (including all lawyers and Public Sector HR Consultants engaged by the Board
in connection with the public hearing) in providing policies, manuals, fiscal year changes, etc. Board Minutes
suggest there were protracted delays and incomplete assignments. The Board should provide an explanation of
its rationale for outsourcing these assignments (at taxpayer cost), which conventionally are tasks performed by
library directors and other similarly-trained library employees.
10.
The Board needs to explain why there has been a protracted vacancy on the Board, in contravention of
state statute? What steps has the Board taken to fill the vacancy? Was the decision to proceed to formal charges
and a hearing taken with less than a full complement of the Board? It appears that the Board President did not
vote on the motion to bring the matter to hearing. Why not? Moreover, it appears that a Board Trustee resigned
when the vote was taken to proceed with a hearing. What were the circumstances surrounding such Trustees
resignation?
11.
The Board needs to explain its rationale for hiring an interim Library Director, who was used as a
witness in the dispute with the current Library Director? Why did the initial interim replacement for the Library
Director resign (a long-service Library employee)? The Board should provide an explanation of why only one
employee of the Library was interviewed in the follow-up investigation in connection with HR consultant's
assessment of the management of the Library. The Board should provide a complete copy of Public Sector HR
Consultant's report describing its procedures in conducting the evaluation, its findings, and conclusions.
12.
In responding to this Petition, the Board should provide an explanation of how the requested accounting
will be performed. If the Board, or individual Trustees, elect to retain counsel for this purpose, neither taxpayer
funds nor restricted Library funds should be used to defray such cost. Rather each individual Trustee should at
his/her own cost respond to the items requested in this Petition, in the same way that the Library Director is
required to pay for her legal costs in defending the Board's alleged claims against her.

In the interest of full disclosure and fairness, we trust that each member of the Board of Trustees will
promptly respond to the requests in each Item, set forth above, and acknowledge receipt of this Petition by
posting receipt thereof on the Library Districts Website.

Responses, with requested documentation, to the foregoing twelve points should be posted on the
Librarys Website no later than June 3, 2016.
Very truly yours,

Concerned Pound Ridge Citizens, Taxpayers, Donors, and Patrons


of the Pound Ridge District Library*
Contact:

Mr. Ken

Turner

at

email

HYPERLINK

tek4556@gmail.com
*Signatures: see attached pages (Signature pages are not for publication).

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