PRENDERGAST LIBRARY OFFICIALS RESPOND TO PUBLIC CONCERNS
- Prendergast Library Forum 02-28-2012 – Part One (Complete Audio)
- Prendergast Library Forum 02-28-2012 – Part Two (Complete Audio)
[Updated March 2, 2012 @ 10:22 p.m.]
JAMESTOWN – Any decision being made at the James Prendergast Library regarding changes in operation or service is a decision being made in good faith. That’s according to Prendergast Library Board President Tom Price, who joined several other library officials Tuesday afternoon as they were met with over 40 residents who had questions and concerns regarding the future of the library.
The impromptu public forum allowed residents to ask library officials questions regarding various rumors that have been circulating in the public. Among the concerns was the hiring of new Executive Director Linda Mielke. Residents claim she’s had negative comments made about her in previous communities where she worked – including Indianapolis, where she was given a $70,000 severance pay after stepping down from her position.
“She basically – in many people’s eyes – destroyed the system in Indianapolis and Marion County Indiana,” said Jamestown resident Steve Lafreniere. “We’re not talking about [anonymous Internet forums] and people making comments, although there’s been a million of those as well. I’m talking about people who are patrons and who have an interest in this. Maybe I wouldn’t trust the comments of fellow librarians and if we don’t want to talk about the past, that’s fine. But it just seems very basic to me that there was something very strange about hiring this person this way.”
In response, Price said that the library had a hiring committee charged with looking at all the candidates, adding that he was confident they followed proper due diligence in reviewing Mielke’s past.
“The board of trustees trustees appointed a search committee – a very competent one – that spent the better part of a year interviewing different candidates several times. Investigating, following up on references. They were very good and very thorough people and we are happy with the decision that they made.”
Price also said he wouldn’t spend a lot of time addressing questions regarding Mielke’s past. Mielke, herself, was unable to attend last night’s meeting due to a prior commitment.
In all, Price and other library officials spent an hour-and-a-half answering questions that came from residents and from city council president Greg Rabb and councilman Michael Taylor, who both said they’ve received a lot of calls from residents regarding the library.
The meeting concluded only after officials answered over a dozen questions and laid to rest several unsubstantiated rumors. Afterward, Price said he was pleased to see such interest in the library and hopes that the meeting will led to future public forums and dialogue. The board president also said that any resident who has any questions or concerns regarding the operation of the budget can always speak to him or any other board member.
The next library board meeting will be on March 22 at 12:15 p.m. in the fireplace room of the library. It is open to the public.
A complete recap of the Public Meeting will be featured later this week on WRFA’s Community Matters Program (Thursday at 6 p.m.).
CATTARAUGUS COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE IDENTIFIES REMAINS FOUND IN 2009
LITTLE VALLEY – The Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office says a A new form of DNA testing allowed for the identification of human remains that were found in 2009. Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb held a press conference Tuesday on the identification of the remains, identified as belong to 45 year old Traci Douglass, 45 of Salamanca. Her remains were found on the Kinzua Reservoir in 2009. Whitcomb said his office will now continue its investigation as it treats the case as an unnatural death.
The sheriff’s office is asking anyone with information regarding the missing woman or the case to call Detective William Welling at 939-2276. All calls will be handled confidentially.
HUNTER HIT BY TRAIN IN PORTLAND
PORTLAND – A hunter was killed by a train Tuesday morning in the town of Portland.
The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office was called to East Forest Avenue at 9:20 a.m. after a train hit a person walking on the tracks. According to Sheriff Joseph Gerace, Giovanni Faso, 68, of 206 Heat St., Tonawanda, was hit by the train while hunting. The collision threw Faso almost 30 feet from the tracks.
Gerace said five hunters from the Tonawanda area were rabbit hunting near the Norfolk and Southern train tracks at the time of the accident.
Faso was pronounced dead at the scene by coroner Richard Mackowiak. His body was taken to the Erie County Medical Center for an autopsy.
FIRST MEETING ON COUNTY LANDFILL TAKES PLACE IN ELLERY
ELLERY – Chautauqua County, Ellery and Gerry officials are working together with residents who live around the county landfill in Ellery to address residents’ issues. That’s according to today’s Jamestown Post-Journal, which reports that during the first in a series of public forums on the Chautauqua County Landfill, Gerry and Ellery town officials and residents met with county representatives to discuss what needs to be done to set a baseline for the four main landfill issues – odor, litter, traffic and watershed concerns – and move forward to help resolve them.
The next public forums on the Chautauqua County Landfill is set for Tuesday, April 24, at 7 p.m. at the Ellery Town Hall.