Excellent point about #6 question. I will add it to my list and bring it to the meeting. Also, there's a lot more going on here with the BOE than meets the eye. There are different accounts of conversations with BOE employees regarding the referendum. Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive as the saying goes. View Comment
Does that mean you will have all of the facts and figures that have been mentioned in the comments to this article, or is it going to be more BS and obfuscation? Unless you are prepared to answer some of these questions I have listed, please don't waste our time. Most of us have busy lives working hard to pay PV taxes. Here are a few questions:
1. For the past five years give a detailed breakdown of all the money that the Library has received from the town of Putnam Valley. That would include amount spent each year for books, CDs, computers, supplies, etc. It would also include the money spent on personnel including, but not limited to the name of every person who is on the staff full time or part time, their rate of compensation per hour if applicable, their total compensation for each year plus any benefits they receive.
2. Provide a cost/benefit analysis for the money the Library spends each year. That means to provide the numbers of people that use the library on a weekly basis, the names of the programs that the Library provides and how many people use each program in a given year. Provide proof or factual evidence of how you obtained these numbers.
3. Provide a copy of any surveys put out by the Library in the past five years for the taxpayers of Putnam Valley to ascertain what the needs, cares and concerns are of the town residents.
4. Provide the names of the Library board of directors and also the decision making process that led up to the decision to double the amount sought from the voters. That includes any and all votes taken by the BOD and results of those votes.
5. Provide detailed information that proves there is a need for a Putnam Valley Library in the town given the other resources that are available. Include the number of people you claim who cannot afford internet, cable TV or other entertainments such that the taxpayers will have to come up for $600,000 to provide these services for them. View Comment
PVTP- you are quite right. I have been reading the "Inch by Inch, Row by Row" publication that Whistling Willie linked to and find it quite useful in understanding how this process works. The more I read, the more I realize that this is not as easy as Priscilla made it out to be. There are a lot of hoops that have to be jumped through, a lot of I's that have to be dotted and T's that have to be crossed. If you look at the calendar that they give in the publication, it seems that the Library people are way behind where they should be. Also, I spoke to one of the commissioners at the Putnam BOE last week and he had no idea what was going on, at least he claimed to have no knowledge about this. In fact, he seemed completely unfamiliar with anything to do with this procedure including the fact that the BOE is crucially involved. So it looks like unless this guy is lying, the library supporters have not even gone over this matter with the BOE and asked for their help. Don't forget, the BOE has to publish the notifications, the BOE has to approve the petitions and the BOE has to make sure that the referendum is properly on the ballot in November that will appear on "their" voting machines. It is the height of arrogance on the part of Priscilla and the Library people to think they can just ram this down our throats without due process. On the other hand, Tendy and "his" board have apparently been asleep at the wheel as they are likewise not informed about the intricacies of the 414 process.
Maybe if our town supervisor and some of the board members were more interested in important budgetary and financial matters instead of getting elected to office, we would have a better chance of either nipping this in the bud or defeating it in November if they do figure out how to get it on the ballot. View Comment
Mr. Tendy should be careful- he just might get what he asks for. If potential voters want to see who and what the real "Bully" Bob Tendy is all about, look no further than his behavior as town supervisor, the way he runs the town with an iron fist and the way he treats ordinary, non aligned citizens who have the temerity to disagree with him. His incompetence is legendary and I can't imagine what would happen if by some mistake he gets elected DA. Check out the videos of Put Valley town meetings that are online- putnamvalley.com. See for yourself the bully in action. And pray Adam Levy wins! View Comment
WW- many thanks for putting this out there. I have started doing my own research on this topic and am amazed how thoroughly unprofessional and incompetent Priscilla and her library board members are. If I didn't know better, I'd say they have a hard time with reading comprehension when it comes to following the proper procedures for what they're trying to do. Then again, there is so much incompetence on every level of local government that it should come as no surprise that they felt they could get away with it since nobody, including the town attorney and supervisor, seems to know how to do legal research so that they would be able to direct them as to how the law works and is applied. Wake up Putnam Valley! View Comment
Here is some info from the NYSED regarding creation of Library districts (or whatever it is that Priscilla & Co. are trying to do):
Prior to going to the public for a vote on a budget, it is critical that a library have an accurate understanding of how the community feels about its operations and services. This can be accomplished by a survey of both users and non-users. Survey results can pinpoint reasons why some segments of the community are not using the library or what services can be offered to increase usage. The higher the percentage of library users there are within the community, the greater chance there will be for a positive vote on the library budget. Survey results, especially responses to open-ended questions, can also provide clues as to any organized opposition within the community to the library budget vote. This will provide an advance opportunity to take corrective actions to “win over” opposition prior to the budget vote. The survey format and the process for collecting data used by libraries will vary depending on the size of the community and the information being sought.
HERE IS A LINK TO THE SURVEY THAT NYS RECOMMENDS BE CIRCULATED PRIOR TO PUTTING UP A REFERENDUM:
http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/libs/pldtools/guide/3sample.htm View Comment
Thanks for the explanation. 310 signatures is not that many as you probably know; Priscilla & Co. can probably get them fairly easily. However, as you probably realize, when it comes to all the election/ voting paperwork, all the I's have to be dotted and the T's crossed. Where can we see a copy of the petition that is being circulated? Has anyone contacted the Board of Elections directly to see what's been filed?
I have to admit that I'm still a little confused about this whole process. From what you're saying, the Library people are now circulating a petition that's been approved by the Board of Elections (?) that will put the question on this November's ballot, do you vote to give the Putnam Valley Free Library $600,000. That's it? No more details?
Also, that is a very interesting statement about our highly paid town attorney, that he's "on salary to help and or represent contractors who do business with the town." If you have that in writing from Tendy or other town official, I'd love to get that statement published. View Comment
Dan- thank you very much for bringing the discussion back on track. Even though some of the comments strayed from the main issue, I am absolutely delighted that there has been this level of interest expressed on ANY political issue in Put Valley. At least people are paying attention.
I totally agree with your assessment regarding actual usage of the Library and I think that such a study should be mandatory before the issue goes on the ballot. Judging by what I see with my own eyes when I pass the Library, it seems like the parking lot is mostly empty except for what I assume are cars belonging to the staff, such as it is. Speaking of which, how does one go about getting a job at the Library? Where are the job descriptions and salaries posted and when are there ever vacancies? How long have the staff members been working there and who evaluates them? The reason I ask is because obviously the biggest expense connected with the Library must be labor.
By the way, 20% of 11,000 = 2200. Does Priscilla or her supporters have provable statistics that there are that many residents who use the facility? View Comment
Responding to the Alleged PVTaxPayer: judging by your last letter, it appears that your only interest is trying to stir up some weird kind of political brouhaha that has little if anything to do with the issue at hand. I don't know who you are or what your angle is, but you are starting to sound like a nut job yourself. Your remarks about Dawn Powell are not only off base but for the most part, false. In short, you don't know what you're talking about. Maybe you have some links or quotes from Dr. Powell that you can include in another letter that would justify the allegations you made about her. In fact, throwing this kind of red herring into the library debate makes me have my own suspicions about some of the people who are protesting so much. View Comment
PV3- what I meant by "smart" was smart in the political sense which is not really a compliment! In other words, SamO probably believes that he can win the race by saying as little as possible that will evoke controversy. Also, I hope you are correct that people are looking at his background and pensions!! Sam has worked in the public sector all his life; he has no idea what life is like in the real world for the people that have been paying his six figures all these years. View Comment
Dan: if you know the answer to this question, please reply to this comment. Last year, the town board voted to approve funding the Library for $270K or whatever it was. How did each board member vote on the expenditure, yes or no? I assume it was a roll call vote. If you don't know the answer, I will file a FOIL request. It is one thing when politicians talk and make promises during an election year, another to see how they vote after they're elected. View Comment
PVTaxpayer- you need to realize something about the so called PV Conservative Party, namely, that there is no such thing! The PV "Conservative" Party consists of maybe 6 or 7 people who have absolutely no principles, conservative or otherwise, who have control of an important line on the ballot. Don't forget that running for office is a lot like playing Bingo- the more lines you have, the better chance you have of winning. It is virtually impossible to obtain the Conservative endorsement if you are a true conservative or if you aren't friendly with the gangsters who meet and decide who they're going to give the line to. The PV Conservative party is a disgrace and needs to be disbanded. SamO is too smart to get involved in this library dispute- it will cost him on too many levels. And why should he say anything? He's clearly going to win the election. Look at his political record. View Comment
Many thanks once again to Dan Vera for laying it all out. I hope that plenty of people are reading about this issue and getting informed. Anyone who cares about the future of Putnam Valley needs to start getting word out. There are too many people who have no idea what Priscilla & Co. are trying to pull off. They thrive on secrecy as evidenced by their behavior when a light is shined on them. There comes a point in time when "enough is enough" and as far as I'm concerned, this taxpayer advocate (me) has had enough. It seems to me that Priscilla and her pals feel there is no limit to the tax money they can extract from their neighbors. I'm still waiting for an answer regarding the numbers that were mentioned by Dan Vera. Please inform us how many poor people there are so we can figure out a better way to provide them with the services they so desperately need- cable TV, entertainment, internet, etc. I guess in today's world that's as important as food, clothing and shelter. View Comment
Maybe someone should explain our representative system of government to Ms. Keresey as she seems confused about how it works. Under our present system, we have a town board of five elected representatives with staggered terms, who represent all the people of Putnam Valley. We currently have two county Legislators who represent all the people in our town and on it goes. To pretend otherwise for the sake of getting more money for your board and employees to spend is just plain disingenuous.
As far as the Library itself, it has become something of a luxury as our culture has changed such that books and reading are no longer in such high regard as they once were. In response to another letter on this topic, you bemoaned the fact that there are some people in town who can't afford cable TV, computers, internet, CDs and other forms of median and entertainment.
** Before this debate goes much further, I would like to know HOW MANY OF THESE POOR PEOPLE ARE THERE- APPROXIMATELY? A thousand? five Hundred? Give us a number please, and here's why we urgently need to know. Let's say there are 500 families in PV who cannot afford an internet connection, cable TV, a smart phone, etc. And let's say these 500 families rely on the PV Library for their media and entertainment. That would be a cost per family of $1200/ year if your budget goes through. Trust me, you can get a pretty good subscription to Cablevision for under $100 / month.
On the other hand, not too long ago, Libraries used to be all about books but that is no longer the case. Today people no longer care about books; all they are interested in are screens of one sort or another. The library of the past that many of us knew and loved is a dinosaur. It doesn't exist anymore I am oh so sad to say.
Today the media and information services that are provided by a public library can be gotten easier and cheaper via private subscriptions. There is no reason to set up another never ending government bureaucracy to provide something that is no longer needed except by a very small minority of the residents.
PKeresy- as a 50 plus year resident of this town and taxpaying citizen for most of that time, I am highly offended at the way you are trying to obfuscate the facts and pull the wool over everyone's eyes about the true costs and benefits of the PV Library. I don't know what your part is in all of this, whether or not you are getting paid or are a volunteer, but I can't really figure out what your angle is.
If you want to convince people that it is really necessary to spend all this money on the library, you have to lay out precisely what's been done with the money that's been given by the taxpayers; in 5 years, we have provided over a million bucks- where did it go? Who is on salary and how much does everyone make- that would be names and titles please. Where else does the money go? In other words, you have to open up the books going back 5 to 10 years and show the taxpayers WHY you suddenly want to jack up the budget like this. Sorry, but I don't buy your rationale that the library has to provide movies, books and entertainment for the poor families of Put Valley whose only access to those things you mentioned is through the library. By the way- you would be amazed at how cheaply you can get books now adays! In fact, Ebay, Amazon, et al are practically GIVING books away because nobody reads anymore. Also, it's been a very long time since the PV library had any kind of selection of books available for people to browse through. I thought that's what a library was all about, or at least it used to be- that is to encourage people to READ. You want us to have an "informed Opinion" well start putting out the financial facts and stop with all the emotional hogwash. View Comment
WW54: you are correct. The Library was closed for almost a year due to structural problems and yes, everyone got paid for doing even less work than usual. I've heard that the reason the project took so long was because they did not hire a professional to manage the job; consequently something that should have been done in a matter of months if was handled properly, took a year and they never did repair the signature bridge that connects the parking lot to the building. I keep waiting for someone to give us 3 good reasons why the Library shouldn't be shut down permanently. It is an unnecessary expense in this day and age when everyone has a world class computer in their back pocket. View Comment
Dan- have you filed a FOIL request with the town and the Library Board? If not, you should do so IMMEDIATELY. The town clerk, Eileen Royael, is the records access officer for purposes of FOIL. If you need help with this please contact me offline so we can discuss. Thanks for all your efforts. There are more people in town like us than you might imagine. We just have to organize. View Comment
Fantastic letter. Thanks so much for getting the word out, Dan. I realize you are a "newcomer" and so have no idea (maybe a suspicion) of how the PV Library has abused the taxpayers over the years. Very few resources available to the public; staff, including the (former?) head librarian from the pre-internet age, no transparency, no show jobs for friends & family. The taxpayers are currently financing libraries and computers in the school district, not to mention the fact that we have all the information in the world available to us in our homes on various devices. Can anyone give me 3 good reasons why we need a library in the first place? Ms. Keresey and Ms. McLaughlin, the ball is in your court. View Comment
And this woman makes HOW MUCH money per year in salary and benefits?? In the private sector she'd be fired and never be able to hold similar position again. Yet thanks to the generosity of NY politicos school administrators like this moron are untouchable. Wake up NY taxpayers. View Comment