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Nov 19, 2015 2:18 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Fourth Westhampton Free Library Trustee Resigns

Nov 23, 2015 5:24 PM

A fourth Westhampton Free Library trustee abruptly resigned her post during the monthly board meeting on November 18.

The departure of Karen Andrews, a 12-year member of the board, comes little more than three weeks after three other members—longtime President Joan Levan, June Sellin and Marth-Ann Betjemann—also resigned their posts in the wake of increased scrutiny from taxpayers and public demands that they change from an appointed to an elected board.

When reached last Thursday, November 19, Ms. Andrews, a real estate agent who works for the Corcoran Group in Westhampton Beach, said she stepped down because she wants to be able to spend more time on her career.

“I sell real estate and need to concentrate on my work,” Ms. Andrews said. “I work seven days a week, and between my family and work, I don’t have much time.

“It’s a terrific community center and everyone should embrace it,” she continued. “We put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into the library to make it enjoyable,” she added, referring to her former colleagues.

Ms. Andrews said that her time on the board was great, and she wished the new board success.

Her resignation came during the board’s first evening meeting, a change that was instituted following demands from the public that the group stop meeting in the mornings, as had been the case for years.

Following the board meeting on November 18, Tom Moore—who was appointed three weeks ago to replace Ms. Levan as president and is also the husband of Westhampton Beach Mayor Maria Moore—and the other three board members put out a memo that, among other things, stated that application process for becoming a library trustee has been opened.

“There has been some interest expressed in changing the selection process for members of the Board of Trustees,” the memo reads. “The Board agrees that it is important that it identify all legally eligible candidates who are willing to serve as the need for new trustees arises in the future both as terms expire in the regular course and unexpectedly.”

The memo makes no mention of the board exploring the possibility of switching to an elected board, as has been demanded by dozens of residents at prior meetings.

The statement notes that qualified candidates must be registered voters who reside within the boundaries of the Westhampton Beach School District. It also states that a blank application form will be posted on the library website, www.westhamptonlibrary.net, in the near future.

Presently, the board only features four members: Susan Rosenberg, Barbara Matros, Jennifer Mendelson and Mr. Moore. Ms. Mendelson, who serves as the board’s secretary, is the only member who was sitting on the board a month ago.

The memo also notes that board members, who are unpaid for their service, will be tasked with negotiating the first contract with library employees, who voted earlier this year to unionize. It also notes that “there are currently pending administrative employee complaints that require the Board of Trustees [sic] attention.”

“I believe everyone’s intent is to move forward than look at the past,” Westhampton Free Library Director Danielle Waskiewicz said last Thursday. “The new board has a lot on their plate.”

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... why wouldn't someone who's taxes go to support the library be able to run for the board, a resident of East Quogue, for example?
By William Rodney (552), southampton on Nov 19, 15 4:11 PM
if someone from East Quogue wants to be a board member tell them to build there own library
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Nov 19, 15 9:29 PM
Prior to making snark, perhaps you could visit a library and learn the difference between "there" and "their."
By Uncle Fester (61), Southampton on Nov 19, 15 9:34 PM
Good one!
By Hambone (512), New York on Nov 22, 15 11:57 AM
... enough said.
By William Rodney (552), southampton on Nov 20, 15 6:53 AM
1 member liked this comment
The call from the board to seek resumes from the community to create a pool of individuals from which THE BOARD would choose board members is a ruse. The taxpayers should choose board members whose terms expire, and the board can choose members for the board if vacancies occur. This is an electoral selection process like the school board and like 13 of 19 similar association libraries like the Westhampton Free Library. The struggle must continue.
By Alterius (19), Westhampton Beach on Nov 20, 15 10:26 AM
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