The Beach Library Board of Directors bid farewell to former Board Attorney Anne Dalton Tuesday, presenting her with a floral arrangement and her meeting nameplate. Board Chair Sallie Seabury thanked Dalton for her six years of service with other board members adding their appreciation.
In November 2016 Library Director Dr. Leroy Hommerding suggested to the board that they no longer needed an attorney at board meetings. The board concurred, voting 5-2 to not have their attorney, Anne Dalton, present at their monthly meetings. The board’s contract with Dalton, signed in December 2010, was for services as requested by the board. In January, Dalton offered the board a new Professional Legal Services contract, which the board declined to accept at their January 24th meeting. In a January 28, 2017 letter, Dalton terminated her contract with the Library District effective February 28, 2017.
In that letter, she reminded Library Board members that the American Bar Association and The Florida Bar “strongly recommend that every government entity have a written contract for legal services as a matter of professionalism and ethics, as well as good governance.” She also urged the board to address the development of policies regarding elected official education, chain of command and a Personnel Policy manual review by the board.
With three new board members, she suggested that new members attend a workshop on “Florida law, good governance, fiduciary duties and misfeasance/malfeasance/nonfeasance issues.”
The board has not yet seen any chain of command plan which would indicate who is in charge of the library if Dr. Hommerding is incapacitated or unavailable. At the January meeting Hommerding said he would have a policy to the board by May or June. Dalton’s letter urged the board to create a policy before that to avoid personal liability for its absence.
Finally, the letter urged board approval of a Personnel Policy Manual, noting that in her 6+ years of representing the board, they had never reviewed or approved a manual. Noting that staff implements the policies, Dalton’s letter stated that the board is responsible for making sure that policies regarding compliance with state and federal law regarding equal pay for equal work, hostile work environment, sexual harassment and similar issues are in place.
In declining to act on Dalton’s proposed contract at their January meeting, several board members agreed that the board did not need a legal services agreement. Hommerding told the board at that meeting that when the library needed legal advice, he’d call someone and he’d use the American Library Association for legal assistance.
Library Use Up
During his Director’s Report, Dr. Hommerding noted that participation in community room presentations was up 26% November-January from last year. January programs were attended by 891 adults with 99 children attending Children’s Programs.
The library received a memorial gift of $150 in January and donations of $124.50. Purchases of $2500 in AV purchases and $1900 in books were noted in the financial report. The annual budget for AV is $19,000; the book budget is $41,000.
Sandy Walker has been hired to handle QuickBooks bookkeeping for the library and a cleaning service has been hired, replacing volunteers who are no longer able to do the work.
During Public Comment Leon Moyer complained that he was unable to access meeting materials and the treasurer’s report on the library’s website. He suggested that supporting materials for agenda items be attached to the agenda and available online prior to the meeting. He also complimented the library staff and made suggestions on items he’d like to see added to meeting agendas.
Library volunteers will be honored at a Volunteer Appreciation Banquet on March 16, 2017.
The next meeting of the Fort Myers Beach Library District Board will be March 28, 2017 at 6:30pm in the Community Room of the library.