I am writing to express my strong support for the candidates Noah Shaw and Shawn Raymond, who are running for the two open Trustee seats on the Ballston Spa Village Board. They will bring new ideas, energy, and transparency to Village government. [Read more…]
BALLSTON SPA — On Monday, June 13, Ron Henry was appointed as the new trustee for the Village of Ballston Spa. He replaced Richard Duffy who stepped down just a few months ago. [Read more…]
Libraries, although modernized these days, still basically provide two functions: namely being a place in which we can learn, and also a place for a community to gather. Well, the Round Lake Library provided both this week, although they probably wish they hadn’t — because we learned about the library, its Board of Trustees, the Round Lake community, and something called the Woman’s Round Lake Improvement Society.
This all stems of course from the events of May 29. On that day, in response to a tornado warning being issued, Theresa Marchione, a 24-year Round Lake Library employee, closed the library 40 minutes early. She did so apparently without obtaining the necessary approval. Shortly thereafter she was fired by Library Director Carol Sheffer.
The termination has created an uproar in this usually quiet village, and the fallout continues. (I have twice had to revise this column, as events keep unfolding in the aftermath.)
Friends, I have been at this gig long enough to know in stories such as this, there is usually more than meets the eye. And I have to believe this is the case here. Because no reasonable person is foolish enough to fire an employee for what appears to everyone as a prudent safety precaution.
Apparently Marchione broke a rule, namely not seeking permission to close the library. No one seems to be challenging this. But, is this an offense worthy of the loss of a job? Can you imagine the uproar if she kept the place open, and the tornado (which did hit nearby Vischer Ferry) caused a copy of “War And Peace” to fall off the shelves and bean a library patron? At a minimum, Marchione’s action seemed to be an exercise in basic common sense. One would have to think there is something else at play here.
When the Board of Trustees met on Tuesday, they faced a audience of angry Round Lake residents, seemingly all of whom demanded Marchione to be reinstated. Should have been a no-brainer, right? Instead, the Board of Trustees slithered off to an executive session. By the time they were finished with this conclave, they were also finished as a board. They all resigned.
I have served on several boards; it isn’t easy. You are giving up your time, for very little reward. But what you are suppose to do is make decisions, sometimes tough decisions. Quitting when such a decision awaits is typically not in the bylaws. Now, as I understand it, there were apparently some threats made against them. OK then, make the decision everyone knows would be the correct one, and maybe those would go away.
I tread lightly here, though, because as of this writing (and like I said, events in this matter are changing by the hour), there has been no statement from the board saying they quit in protest. If so, well, I stand corrected, but I’ll say it again: they had the power to give Marchione her job back (not to mention taking Sheffer’s away), and the only decision they made was to quit.
And so, the Woman’s Round Lake Improvement Society Board (WRLIS) now has to find a new library board. WRLIS is basically the Round Lake Library Board of Trustees’ boss. Firstly, it seems as though there is a lot of oversight for a community library. At any rate, someone will need to explain to me why the WRLIS’s recommendation to their subordinate (reinstating Marchione) was not followed by the library board.
Mercifully, the day after the emotional meeting, Sheffer did what everyone knew she had to do, and quit. To her credit she was at the meeting, but she said nothing. There are so many things she could have done differently. One of course, was not to fire Marchione in the first place. Another could have been to admit her error the next day and reinstate Marchione. Do either of those, and this village would have had the status quo back in their library.
Instead, it has almost become a joke. Round Lake is even more tightly-knit than Ballston Spa. If an out of towner shows up, everyone knows within an instant. They are proud of their village. Now, people are laughing at them. It’s a shame. Kind of their own Snow Cone Joe moment.
And, just when I was looking on a way to end this, I saw a news splash in which my colleague Kelsey Maiuccoro reported WRLIS selected a new board, and the new board reinstated Marchione. So, here’s hoping this is truly the end.
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