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Executive Board Minutes - Rochelle Park Hearing: 12-14-16




Wednesday, December 14, 2016 – 10:00 am

Maywood Public Library, 459 Maywood Avenue, Maywood, NJ  07607



Presiding:  BCCLS President Len LoPinto


Hearing Committee:

  •          Len LoPinto                        2016 BCCLS Executive Board President
  •          Dave Franz                         2016 BCCIS Executive Board Vice President
  •          Kelly Fitzgerald                  2016 BCCLS Executive Board Member
  •          David Hinkley                     2016 BCCLS Executive Board Member
  •          Tom Madru                        2016 BCCLS Executive Board Member
  •          Daragh O'Connor              2016-2017 BCCLS Executive Board Member
  •          Mary Orlando                    2016 BCCLS Executive Board Member (NOT PRESENT)
  •          Edna Ortega                       2016 BCCLS Executive Board Member
  •          Gina Webb-Metz              2016-2017 BCCLS Executive Board Member
  •          Marie Coughlin                 BCCLS Executive Director


Also Present:

  •          Renata Helstoski               BCCLS - Attorney
  •          Stephanie Belluci              Cliffside Park - Director
  •          Chris Hartigan                    East Rutherford – Director and 2017 BCCLS Executive Board Member
  •          Mimi Hui                             Hasbrouck Heights – Director and 2017 BCCLS Executive Board Member
  •          Monica A. Smith               Hawthorne - Director
  •          Nicholas Jackson               Hawthorne – Head of Adult Services
  •          Kurt Hadeler                      Mahwah – Director and 2017 BCCLS Executive Board President
  •          Caitlin Hull                          Maywood - Director
  •          Terrie McColl                     New Milford - Director
  •          Susan Meeske                    Old Tappan – Director and 2017 BCCLS Executive Board Member
  •          John Trause                        Oradell - Director
  •          Riti Grover                          Ramsey - Director
  •          Lori Quinn                           Waldwick - Director
  •          Laura Rikfin                         Washington Township – Director and 2017 BCCLS Executive Board Member
  •          Samantha McCoy              West Caldwell – Director and 2017 BCCLS Executive Board Member
  •          Darlene Swistock               BCCLS – Recorder of Minutes



  •          Julia Perrotta                    Rochelle Park Library - Director
  •          Michael Cerone                Rochelle Park Library Association – Attorney
  •          Frank Madden                  Rochelle Park Library Association – Trustee
  •          Barbara Trinkleback        Rochelle Park Library Association – Trustee
  •          Sandi Ross                         Rochelle Park Library Association – Trustee
  •          Joseph Rotolo                   Rochelle Park Township – Attorney
  •          Michael Kazimir                Rochelle Park Township – Mayor
  •          Bob Davidson                    Rochelle Park Township – Administrator
  •          Elizabeth Kroll                   Rochelle Park Township – Clerk


Call to Order: 

Mr. LoPinto called the meeting to order at 10:08 am.  He announced the reason for the hearing is to determine the Rochelle Park Public Library's compliance/non-compliance of BCCLS Bylaw Article 1, Section 3(a) Qualifications for Membership. 



He asked the Executive Board committee members, BCCLS staff, and the participants to introduce themselves. 


Public Portion:



Hearing:  Rochelle Park Public Library – Compliance/Non-Compliance with BCCLS Bylaws Article 1, Section 3(a) Qualifications for Membership

Mr. Cerone, attorney representing the Rochelle Park Library Association, stated that the library is not operating as a municipal or association library and does not meet BCCLS membership qualifications.  The association board does not govern the library, set rules, select materials, hire people or control the budget.  He indicated that the library is not receiving a full 1/3 mill as rent/utility charges (as a disguise for rent) is charged.  Since the township is charging rent/utility charges (as a disguise for rent), he stated that they cannot qualify for state aid, but the library has submitted their reports, signed by the director and board president indicating they are in compliance and the township has received state aid.  The library's association charter was suspended from 1988-2015 due to the non-payment of filing fees for annual state report filings and the association administered the library during that time.  The trustees stated that the township received state aid, but the library did not receive any of the funds; the board does not sign checks for library expenses.  The board also advised they did not receive financial reports at the monthly meetings.  When fines were collected, the board was instructed to give that money to the township.  They stated their authority was slowly usurped over the years and they did not have budget authority for at least the last 3 years as the Director brought the budget to the township for approval.


Joseph Rotolo, attorney representing Rochelle Park Township, conceded that Rochelle Park is not structured as a municipal or association library, but operates as a hybrid library.  According to Mr. Rotolo, their charter indicates that they do fundraising and are like a Friends of the Library; their role is not to run the library.  He indicated that Rochelle Park has been a long standing member and wants to stay in BCCLS and continue in good standing.  He advised that they will have a township reorganization meeting on January 4, 2017 and will be able to address the concerns at that time.


Discussion ensued about governance, funding and funding shortfalls, reporting, hiring, firing, municipalization, policies, audits, rules of conduct, state aid eligibility, who is the contracting party and who has authority to sign agreements on behalf of the library.  Members of the BCCLS Executive Board asked the Rochelle Park board members about their responsibilities as trustees and the board answered that they do not have fiduciary control, have not set policy, and do not hire/review staff.  Marie Coughlin advised that the State Library is waiting for BCCLS to conclude its investigation before it takes any action.


Old Business:  Discussion of Rochelle Park Public Library Compliance/Non-Compliance with BCCLS Bylaws

Mr. LoPinto advised that the hearing has ended and the BCCLS Executive Board will now move to Old Business – Discussion of Rochelle Park Public Library Compliance/Non-Compliance with BCCLS Bylaws and may choose to act.  If Rochelle Park Public Library is found to be in non-compliance, the BCCLS Executive

Director will send a letter advising that the library has 30 days to present a plan to become compliant.  If a plan is not presented or, if a plan is presented, but not implemented, they could recommend a reduction or termination of library privileges and the matter be referred to the System Council for a vote.


Another discussion followed and the Executive Board members expressed their serious concerns about the governance issues and recognized that the Board of Trustees tried to share their concerns with the Township in 2015, but no action was taken. 


Dave Franz made a motion to find that Rochelle Park is in violation of BCCLS Bylaws and suggested that they be given 45 days (from the date of the letter), given the holidays, to submit a plan to comply with BCCLS Bylaws Article 1, Section 3(a) Qualifications of Membership.  It was seconded by David Hinkley.


Another discussion followed and Executive Board members stressed that this action is not punitive, but should be seen as motivation to comply with BCCLS Bylaws.  Len LoPinto stated that the association should be given the power to govern, review policies, create budgets, and form a relationship with the library director as the director runs the library operations under the board's guidance.  The board should hire a consultant if needed.


A voice vote was taken to determine if Rochelle Park is not in compliance with Article 1, Section 3(a) Qualifications of Membership; it was unanimous.  The Executive Director will send the library a letter outlining what minimum actions are necessary to comply with the BCCLS Bylaws and the library will be given 45 days to submit a plan. 


Membership Hearing:




Tom Madru made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 11:33am.  It was seconded by Edna Ortega. 





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