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Bero resigns from Massena library board

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MASSENA — Lisa C. Bero, the last remaining member of the Massena Public Library board of trustees, resigned at Wednesday night’s Town Council meeting.

Citing a need for a fresh start at the library, Ms. Bero said she resigned after several weeks of consideration.

“I believe new beginnings and a fresh embarkation can be beneficial to the success and productivity of the upcoming formation of the Massena Public Library board of trustees,” she told council members. “Let a new board bring unbiased ideas and decisions to our library.”

Ms. Bero’s resignation followed the departures of President John Acton, Vice President Richard Geiser and members Barb DeLine, Pamela Ouimet and Michael Gleason. Director Lynn Fountain also left last month after a year of service.

With no director and no functioning board, the council decided to close the library June 8 and reorganize. Last week, the council reopened the library and appointed retired director Paul L. Schaffer on an interim basis. The town is paying Mr. Schaffer $20 per hour for a maximum of three hours per day.

Mr. Schaffer will work at the library until the town can appoint a new board, which would resume the search for a permanent director.

The council adjourned into an executive session at the end of Wednesday’s meeting to review potential board members and invited Mr. Schaffer to stay for it. The council made no appointments following the session.

In her resignation, Ms. Bero said she plans to pursue a master’s degree in psychology in the fall. She alluded to difficulties she had with other board members. Last month, she publicly disclosed at a library meeting misconduct charges Mr. Geiser had alleged against her.

“I cannot say I have completely enjoyed my six months as a member of the library board for many reasons. Having to cope with the ‘mishandlings’ of issue upon issue by the four previous board members was, to say the least, extremely troubling and upsetting,” she said.

At the meeting, the council unanimously approved a new four-year contract for library staff members. Library employees organized under Teamsters Local 687 more than a year ago and had been negotiating a contract with the town for several months.

Staff members will receive no retroactive wage increase for 2011, and 1.5 percent raises in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Employees will not have to contribute to health coverage, but hires after Jan. 1, 2012, must pay 5 percent of their insurance premium.

The library staff had approved the contract prior to Wednesday’s meeting. Supervisor Joseph D. Gray said the contract closely mirrored one employees in the Massena Town Hall received several months ago. He did not have the new contract’s total cost after the meeting.

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