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Bronxville Library Holds Meeting Without Director

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. -- The Bronxville Library Board is set to hold its first meeting since the resignation and departure of now former Library Board Director Laura Eckley.

Board member and Public Information Officer Chris Zufelt said on Tuesday that the board will not make any public comment until after the meeting which will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 7:00 p.m.

But library board member Sean Abbott, former president and the longest serving member of the eight-member, all volunteer board, has made it clear that he is worried about the fate of the library, which has 31 employees and held 750 programs in 2011.

"The Bronxville Public Library is in a deeper crisis today than during Laura Eckley's reasonable and rational inquiry as to why the library board revoked her October raise in November," Abbott said in a statement.

In October, the Bronxville Village Board voted in favor of giving Eckley a raise of more than $18,000, praising her for a job well done as proposed by the library board, which is the governing board of the library.

At the next village board meeting in November, the board voted to rescind the raise, and replaced it with a raise of $3,500 and a stipend of $10,000 to be dispersed over a six-month period.

On Dec. 15, Eckley filed an Article 78 lawsuit. At the time, neither the library board nor Mayor Mary Marvin were able to speak on the pending litigation.

Eckely announced her resignation in January, noting she had accepted a new position as director of the Larchmont Library. After the announcement, Eckley withdrew her lawsuit on the day before the village had to answer the charges in the suit.

Shortly thereafter, Marvin addressed the charges in her weekly blog noting that the raise was rescinded due to incorrect and or erroneous financial information that was given to the library board.

"When complete financial information was later presented to the library board, it became clear that they did not have sufficient money without cutting and reducing other line items in the budget to fund the raise," Marvin wrote a week ago. "Since what is done by resolution can be undone by resolution, the board, who are a dedicated group of residents very conscious of their stewardship of our tax dollars, sought to rectify the situation in a subsequent meeting."

Abbott said the meeting Wednesday night will be the first time ever that the library board will meet without a director or acting director. He also said he is not sure how or even if there will be a temporary appointment to fill Eckley’s position.

"The library's ongoing crisis is the reason I remain active on the board," Abbott said. "That along with the profoundly unfortunate and completely avoidable necessity of seeking a new director."

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