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Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Massena Town Council to re-convene on library issues

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MASSENA — The Massena Town Council may take action on the future of its shuttered library at a special meeting at 3 p.m. today.

The council closed the library down Friday, effective on Monday. Supervisor Joseph D. Gray previously said the town temporarily closed the library to protect its assets since it had no director and no functioning board of trustees. Executive Director Lynn M. Fountain and several trustees had resigned recently, rendering the board nonfunctional with Lisa J. Bero as the only remaining member.

The closure has given the council time to search for board members and an interim director, Mr. Gray said. Since the closing, several more prospective board members have approached him.

“We are closer to assembling a board,” he said. “We have a bigger, more solid pool to choose from than we had last Friday.”

The council also is “very close” to finalizing a contract with a group of library employees who organized under Teamsters Local 687 more than a year ago, Mr. Gray said. He expected the board to vote on approving a contract at a regular meeting June 20 or sooner.

Since the shutdown, Mr. Gray said, he has heard both positive and negative feedback. Those in support of the closure believe it’s the right course of action given the circumstances facing the library, he said. Those against it have told Mr. Gray that there has not been enough explanation behind it and that the staff was capable of running the facility on its own.

Mr. Gray dispelled rumors he heard that closing the library was related to the library’s unionizing efforts.

“There’s no connection whatsoever,” Mr. Gray said. “It’s about the fact that there’s no library board that can function and there’s no director.”

Mickey S. Smith, president of Teamsters Local 687, said Mr. Gray told him the library could reopen as early as the end of this week or the beginning of next week. He said he hoped that was the case.

“They’re really upset it was done this way,” Mr. Smith said of his employees. “When you work anywhere and you’re told to go home for a week, that’s not what people want to do.”

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