Spring 2010

The Trustee communicates issues affecting libraries and library services. Once a library and systems join LTA, all their trustees automatically receive this quarterly publication published by LTA. To learn more about membership in LTA, Click Here.

Library Board Ousted

by Sam Patton, Editor

Spring 2010 issue of Trustee

In our training sessions, we tell library trustees that they must file an oath of office within thirty days of the election or appointment. Failure can mean that the trustee may be removed from office. This may seem an arcane and not important item. Here is a story, excerpted from the Times Union that puts a new face on the rule and its importance.

The Castleton Public Library Board dismissed Darlene Miller, the Director, in September 2009. Many complaints from village residents followed the dismissal of Ms. Miller. Miller’s supporters claimed the trustees themselves were no longer legally entitled to their positions.

“Public Officers Law, Section 10, requires that public library trustees must file an oath of office, and if they fail to do so within the prescribed time, they vacate their offices automatically,” Jane Briggs, a department spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. “An investigation by the state Education Department revealed that the Castleton trustees never filed their oaths, which means that their positions are vacant.”

The state has asked the Village Board to submit to the State Library by March 19 names of nominees for the seven trustee positions, as well as the names and resumes of anyone else who applied to be a trustee.

The Board of Regents is expected to appoint new library trustees at its April meeting.

The New York Library Association and the Board of Regents support the conversion of private library associations, such as the Castleton Public Library, into public library districts. In my own experience, we thought that the filing of the Oath of Office applied to all libraries except trustees of a Free Association Library, which are elected by the members of the library, and not the general public.

The recommendation to all is: Take the “Oath of Office” and file a notarized document with the name(s), date and location, with the County Clerk, Village Clerk, or Town Clerk as appropriate.

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