Beach Library Drops Regular Legal Counsel


The Board of Directors of the Fort Myers Beach Library met this week for the first time since November and affirmed their November decision to not have legal counsel present at board meetings.

Dr. Leroy Hommerding, Beach Library Director, provided the board with an update on the Chiller Solarcool system, technology designed to improve the efficiency of the library air conditioning system. BNI offered to install the Solarcool panels and monitor HVAC energy consumption over 6 months at no cost to the library. At that point, the library can decide to purchase the technology or have it removed at no cost to them. George Ballantyne asked the director to request the calculations they plan to use to measure energy savings.

A new water pump has been added to the library at a cost of about $4500 after water pressure on the third floor dropped enough to prevent toilet flushing on that floor. Plumbers concluded the pressure was lower than it had been during construction monitoring and installed a pump to resolve the issue.

During the Director’s Report, Hommerding issued a call for help with the library’s book sale on Jan 28 from 9am-12:30pm, specifically for help setting up and packing up books afterward. Volunteers should call the library at 239-765-8162


Legal Services

Seabury asked board members if they wanted to address a letter sent to the board by Anne Dalton offering legal services on an as needed basis. Dalton has served as legal counsel for the Beach Library since 2011 when the expansion project drew vocal opposition. At their November meeting Hommerding brought up the board’s retention of an attorney noting that most of the duties did not need legal counsel. A vote to no longer retain an attorney to attend monthly meetings passed 5-2 with Seabury and Ed Scott dissenting. Sebastian was not present.

Seabury said Dalton’s recent letter offered legal services on an as needed basis and included a proposal. She reminded the board that Dalton had expressed concern about who would be in charge of the library if the Library Director was unavailable, “Who takes over for Leroy?”

Hommerding told the board that he would present a protocol answering that question in May or June. He added that when the library needs legal advice, they’ll call someone. He also noted that the American Library Association offers legal assistance.

Board Secretary Mark LaFave echoed Hommerding’s comments, “When we need someone I’m sure Leroy will find someone.” Miffie Greer and Debbie Whitehead concurred that a signed legal services agreement was not necessary. Ed Scott said his opinion hadn’t changed since November and he doubted anyone else’s had. “We’re beating a dead horse here.” Seabury summarized that the consensus of the board was that they did not want to take action on Dalton’s proposal for legal services.

The next Library Board meeting will be Tuesday, February 28 at 6:30 pm at the library.


Missy Layfield