HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - The 2020 re-organization meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Free Public Library of Hasbrouck Heights on Tuesday night opened with a prepared statement from Marlene Verrastro, President of the Board of Trustees, given to a capacity room in the large meeting room of the Library.
Before I proceed with the regular agenda this evening, I want to first address the personnel matter that was carried over from the December meeting. This matter is based up an allegation of violation of section 8 C, of our Personnel Manual which prohibits the use of public funds, services or personnel to promote to defeat the election of a candidate for public office.
I have consulted with a majority of our members of this Board individually since the last meeting and I have found that these members will be satisfied if we reaffirm in the strongest possible terms that we will not tolerate a violation of this rule in the future. The Personnel Committee has already addressed the matter to the two involved staff members and those Committee members are satisfied that they will refrain from any prohibited activity in the future.
Because of what I have learned, I recommend the adoption of supplements to both our Employees’ Manual and, as well, to the By-Laws of the Trustees. These supplements were drawn by our attorney and approved by our Personnel Committee last month. Each of the two supplements prohibits any activity in the course of any Library officer’s or employee’s duties “***from which it may be reasonably inferred either the support or opposition by the Library of any political candidate, party or position.”
I believe that this matter should be concluded without further delay or debate. I will now entertain a motion to place these two supplements on the agenda for adoption at the February meeting and that any of the currently pending personnel matter be dismissed. May I hear such a motion?”
The motion was made and seconded. The Trustees voted to accept the motion, with former Mayor Rose Heck abstaining, saying it had not been discussed with her.
TAPinto reached out to Borough Attorney Emeritus Ralph Chandless for further details.
"The statement speaks for itself," was his official response.
"I'm confident the library board has addressed any issue accordingly," said Hasbrouck Heights Mayor Jack DeLorenzo, and Trustee.
The Trustees elected officers for the new year: Marlene Verrastro, president, Pat Link, secretary, and Michael Sickels, treasurer.
Mimi Hui, Director of the Hasbrouck Heights Library, presented 2019 Year in Review with highlights of the library's new and continuing offerings in 2019. She explained that 2019 marked the 40 years of "resource sharing, collaboration, and service" among the 77 members of the Bergen County Cooperative Library System, BCCLS. As of December 30, 2019, Hui said 87,863 people walked through the library's doors, or enough to fill Madison Square Garden 4.42 times. More than 15,000 people used a computer and more than 10,000 people logged onto the free WiFi with a personal device, she explained. The library hosted 503 library programs that had 6,833 people in attendance. The events she highlighted included the 30th Annual Lego Night, the 13th Annual Summer Bash, young adults activities, children's activities, ongoing Adult programs like the Crafts-to-Share Club, Writers and Authors Group, and music recitals. Recently added programs Hui touted were the ESL Conversation Groups and the Coding Class. She also expressed appreciation for the ongoing support of the Friends of the Hasbrouck Heights.
The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for Tuesday, February 18 at 7:30pm.
(Editor's Note: the article was updated with a comment from Hasbrouck Heights Mayor Jack DeLorenzo.)
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