B y Jaime Thomas
Despite talk around town that the Pember Library and Museum was in trouble during an audit last month, Director Pat Wesner said unofficial results were positive.
“They said they love us and they loved being here—their words,” Wesner said. She said the auditors, who came on behalf of the New York State Comptroller’s Office, commended Pember staff on being “proactive and responding immediately to their verbal recommendations,” as well as giving them a lot of credit for having an outside accountant.
Though a number of residents wondered if the audit was unique to the Granville, Sara Dallas, director of the Southern Adirondack Library System said this is not so.
“The State Office of the Comptroller is auditing public libraries throughout New York state. In fact, auditors will be visiting libraries, fire districts and town governments to review tax cap compliance on a three-year rotation. It is a standard audit and in the next few years, I expect more libraries will be audited,” she said in an email in May.
The official audit report will not be released to the public or library staff until it is considered complete, which will take six to eight months, according to Brian Butry, a spokesman for the comptroller’s office.
The auditors did give Wesner and Marcia Klam, president of the board of trustees, a verbal report, which they say yielded positive results and also offered suggestions.
“We have to review our bylaws; they haven’t been updated for a while. They need to be more up-to-date and appropriate for what is being done now. And we have to be more specific in our minutes, and get formal letters of resignation if someone leaves the board,” Wesner said.
She said the auditors did not find any conflict of interest regarding the architectural firm hired to work on the capital campaign, where her husband is a partner. She said they looked back through expenditures, contracts and vouchers and found everything to be appropriate.
That research, in addition to several other areas, was not originally in the comptroller’s scope of work. However, because of articles and letters to the editor in the Sentinel last month regarding resident George Henry’s concerns, the auditors told Wesner they were compelled to look into the issues.
In other news at the library, two new village residents joined the board of trustees at a meeting June 19. Mario Torres, who works at a nearby school and also coaches Granville Football, and Kaela O’Grady, who works at Telescope Casual Furniture, replaced two board members who recently moved out of Granville.
Wesner thinks each will bring fresh input to the board.
“Mario Torres is involved in the school, and we’re hoping his involvement will get more involvement from the school. He said he’ll have his football players do community service for the library, too. Kaela O’Grady is a young person here in town, so she will have some new ideas and some insight into things,” she said.
As far as the Pember’s library dinner, it has been postponed until Sept. 20 to give staff more time to prepare. The next board meeting will take place Wednesday, July 17 at 6 p.m.