Fall 2016

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.

Get Your Library Questions Answered!

Fall 2016 issue of Trustee

A Service for LTA Members: Ask Joe Eisner

Another service of provided by LTA- have a question? Ask Joe by e-mail: or by calling toll- free: 1-866-720-8969. (All questions are handled with appropriate discretion. The questions posted in Mr. Eisner's columns are generalized frequently asked questions.)

Q. Are employees of a municipal public library employees of the municipality or the library?

A. They are employees of the library: "As a general rule, the town library board of library trustees, and not the town board has the authority to appoint and dismiss library personnel (Education Law ss226(7), 260; 30 Opns St Compt, 19...). The library board exercises direct control and supervision over library personnel and for most purposes, including labor negotiations under the Taylor Law (Civil Service Law, ss200, et se.), the library board is considered to the employer of library personnel (County of Erie v Board of Trustees, 62 Misc. 2d 396, 308 NYS2d 515; Binghamton Public Library Unit v City of Binghamton, 69 Misc. 2d 1005, 331 NYS2d 515; Opns St Comp, 1980, No. 72-402, unreported; cf. Retirement and Social Security Law, s30; Opns St Comp 1980, No. 80-199, as yet unreported; Finkelstein v Central School District, 34 AD2d 781, 311 NYS2d 243 afd 28 NY2d 705, 320 NYS2d 751). Compensation for library personnel is fixed by the library board and paid from the library fund (Education Law, ss226(7), 259(1)). It would then follow that, as between the town board and the library board, it is the library board which determines the vacation and sick leave benefits for library employees. It is our opinion that a library board of trustees has implied authority to provide for sick leaves and vacations for library employees (see Opn 80-199, supra; 1981 Atty Gen [Inf Opns] 105; Education Law, ss226(7), 260)" (Op State Comp 81-431, 1981).

The same conclusion was reached in a number of PERB cases: where a village public library petitioned PERB to remove the library staff from an existing bargaining unit composed mostly of employees of the village, alleging that it, not the village employed the library staff: "The Library is a free public library chartered by the New York State Board of Regents. In Town of Webster...[citing 20 PERB 4019 (1987) it was held, in conformity with the currently prevailing view, that a chartered public library is a separate employer with a separate existence distinct from the municipality which creates and supports it... Any control the Village has exercised over the Library's labor and employment relations in the past has been at the Library's sufferance... [emphasis added]" (Potsdam Public Library... and Village of Potsd... and Potsdam Branch of the Civil Service Employees Association... 1988, Case No. C-3296, 21 PERB Reports 4053).

For more information about Joe Eisner's experience and background, please click on the "Ask Joe Eisner" tab under "Resources and Links" on LTA's website.

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