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Sat., Jul. 12
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Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York

Bero resigns as library board secretary

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MASSENA - An embattled member of the Massena Public Library’s Board of Trustees has resigned as the board’s secretary, a position she said was illegally given to her when she took her seat on the board.

Lisa J. Bero said positions on the board must be elected annually, according to the board’s by-laws, but there was never a vote to name her as secretary.

In an email sent Saturday to President John Acton and Vice President Richard L. Geiser, Ms. Bero wrote, “After closer examination of the board bylaws, I have discovered yet another breach. Under Article 11-Governance, Section 3, it states, ‘The officers of the board shall be a president, a vice president, a treasurer and a secretary, each elected annually from among the trustees of the board, and they shall hold office until their successors shall have been elected and shall have accepted.’”

But, she said, that election never took place.

“When I attended my first meeting and opened my Library Trustee Binder, there noted under ‘Library Board’ was my name with the title of ‘Secretary’ beside it. No vote ever occurred, a clear violation of Article 11, Section 3. As I recall, when I questioned this designation of secretary, Mr. Acton and Mrs. (Barbara) DeLine stated that they always ‘pinned that position on the newbie.’ Of course that ‘newbie’ was me,” Ms. Bero wrote.

Because of what she called “this blatant violation,” Ms. Bero said she was resigning her duties as secretary of the library board effective immediately.

“I cannot infract the oath of office I took when I decided to accept this position on the library board nor can I support those that do. It would certainly be hypocritical of me to do so,” she said, adding, “As a final duty, I will be happy to provide you with the Minutes from our last meeting dated May 29, 2012.”

Mr. Acton said they would act on Ms. Bero’s resignation at their next meeting.

“We’ve had people resign from the board. We’ve never had the experience with someone resigning from a position,” he said. “She’s welcome to do it. Her reasons for it are questionable.”

With two resgnations, the five-member board had three trustees at its last meeting, with each holding a position on the board - himself as the president, Mr. Geiser as the vice president and Ms. Bero as secretary.

“Taking the minutes doesn’t involve a lot of work,” he said.

Ms. Bero has come under fire recently with Mr. Geiser accusing her of misconduct in the discharge of her “sworn duties of a trustee” required by state education laws.

The charges allege Ms. Bero discussed with employees personnel issues broached in a board executive session on April 23, specifically the replacement of Library Director Lynn Fountain. Doing so “violates every principle of confidentiality,” the charges state.

Mr. Geiser also alleged Ms. Bero also actively participated in a library petition that advocated naming Youth Services Librarian Elaine Dunne-Thayer the library director, even though she denied it to other board members. The charges also accuse Ms. Bero of an “inability to function with other members.”

Board members are scheduled to meet at 7:30 p.m. tonight to move into executive session with Ms. Bero and discuss the accusations. She faces possible suspension or expulsion from the board.

Ms. Bero has denied all the charges pressed against her and said the “impromptu” meeting she had with employees did not breach any confidentiality rules.

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