A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Library Trustees Slower Than Molasses in January

Yet another week has passed without the Matawan-Aberdeen Public Library's elevator being fixed. Back in early March, the library's board of trustees defended what by then had been a 4-month process. They claimed it was reasonable to handle one aspect of a complex issue at each of their last three monthly meetings. They were proceeding methodically and happened to be prepared at the March meeting to accept a bid and get the repairs contracted and completed in the next week or so. But things haven't gone as planned and the handicapped and elderly still can't get off the main level.  I guess whatever went wrong was reported to the April meeting and whatever is still going wrong will be reported to the meeting in early May.

My office once long ago planned to have an office built into the back of a copier room. They needed to bring in a series of separate contractors to do the framing, electricity, wallboard, painting, and someone to hang the office door. Somehow the framers installed the door frame on the wrong end of the wall. Unfortunately, nobody noticed the error until after the electrical work, wallboard, and painting had been completed. Apparently the door hanger noticed the error and pointed it out. So they had to send the door hanger away and get someone to come and remove the wallboard so the electrician could remove the wiring so the framer could come back and fix the error. And then the process began again. Each step in the process was a separate visit, so the process took months and months to complete. But even that job was done faster than this elevator repair.

Shame on the trustees for not moving expeditiously to repair the elevator. They have the power of two municipal governments at their disposal and yet they can't get an elevator fixed in less than six months?


  1. The volunteer and unpaid board approved the repair in Nov. The library director was responsible for scheduling and coordinating the repair. The interim library director hopefully will see it to completion.

  2. The Library Board said at its last meeting that the delay is due to the wording they object to on the purchase order. I presume that since the work still has not been done, some other little issue came up and the Board will promptly resume taking care at the leisurely pace of its once a month meeting.

    From the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the section pertaining to state and local government facilities (which our Board recently decided it was):

    [Public entities]are required to make reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures where necessary to avoid discrimination, unless they can demonstrate that doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity being provided.

    Complaints of title II violations may be filed with the Department of Justice within 180 days of the date of discrimination. In certain situations, cases may be referred to a mediation program sponsored by the Department. The Department may bring a lawsuit where it has investigated a matter and has been unable to resolve violations. For more information, contact:

    U.S. Department of Justice
    Civil Rights Division
    950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
    Disability Rights Section - NYAV
    Washington, D.C. 20530


  3. The duties and responsiblity for carrying out the day-to-day operation of the library is the responsiblity of the library staff. The board is in an advisory role! They approved the repair. It was the staffs (the librarian) role to schedule and coordinate the repair. Should the board call the service provider and suprevise the repair? What do you believe is the role of the staff?

  4. Anon, this delay is not a staff problem at all. It is strictly a Board issue, volunteer or otherwise.

    The Board explained this in great detail. First they sought competitive bids, reviewed them, and mulled over the repair/replace/do nothing option. This apparently took the first few months of waiting time up. Next the Board had some issues over the amount and extent of the work scope. In April's meeting they still had an issue with the wording on the purchase order. The Attorney and Director were told to get that fixed and hopefully the bid would not have changed outside the approved parameters; otherwise the issue will have to come back to the Board for more approval.

  5. Come on Anonymous, it is clear you are a board member, fess up will you! You can't blame Susan any more since the board has sucessfully forced her out. You guys (the board) need some accountability.

  6. Not a board member just logical! Boards don;t run the day to day operation of any enterprise!! The company employees (staff)run the business/operations. You should petition your governmental body and volunteer to be a board member. Then maybe you'll be informed rather then reactionary! Request the board minutes going back to August and educate yourself to the facts!!!

  7. The library staff are understandably scared of the Board. The local municipalities are squeezing the library staff for strict allegiance and removing those who complain. They forced the director to retire and have issued another Rice notice, presumably in anticipation of tonight's extraordinary meeting of the Board. I've heard that the meeting was canceled because that person was successfully threatened and the meeting became moot. Now that the two local governments are pushing for legislation that will reduce their obligation to support the library financially, it is unclear what will be left of the library in a few years. You can be logical all you want, but the library is under attack and the broken elevator is emblematic of MAPL's ultimate fate if people don't fight.