By Diane Madigan
Independent Special Writer
On a 4-3 vote, the Belleville Area District Library Board turned down a proposed bylaws change to limit a board member to holding the same office for three consecutive terms.
Offices are voted upon each January for one-year terms.
Voting against the change were Michael Boelter, Joy Cichewicz, Mary Jane Dawson, and John Juriga. In favor were Christina Brasil, Elaine Guiterrez, and Joe Monte.
The vote was taken at the library board’s regular meeting on Feb. 12 as it was reviewing updates to the bylaws. All changes were voted on separately.
This proposal to limit terms of office brought lengthy discussion and many opinions.
“I totally disagree to term limits. I think we are all gifted in certain areas,” said Juriga and Boelter agreed.
“I totally disagree,” said Guiterrez, who is treasurer. “Once somebody gets in, it’s hard sometimes for that person to let it go.”
“I see your point with treasurer,” agreed Cichewicz.
Monte, a member of the Bylaw Committee that proposed the change, said, “Of course, a person could refuse. I thought it would give more people an opportunity, not that I’m interested in certain positions.”
“If you don’t want the position next time, you really need to have an apprentice working with you so they can glean that knowledge,” Juriga added.
After the vote, Cichewicz wanted to talk about term limits for the treasurer which Guiterrez supported. Guiterrez reluctantly agreed to be treasurer for another year at the recent election of officers.
“Fraud can be so fragrant,” Guiterrez noted.
The wording for treasurer term limits will come back for consideration at the April meeting.
Since the beginning of the appointed board April 17, 2010 through the official board elected in November 2010, Dawson has been the only board president and Guiterrez the only treasurer. The other officers have changed over the years.
In other business at the Feb. 12 meeting, the board:
• Set up a Building Committee, as a standing committee, that will develop and implement a plan detailing the facilities needed for present and future library services, as well as identify locations to construct a new main library and satellite facility as outlined in the Belleville Area District Library Agreement;
• Passed an Investment Policy, based on the City of Belleville’s policy, and passed a resolution designating JPMorgan Chase Bank as the library’s depository;
• Discussed a financial statement that showed $192,777 cash in the bank, which would be subject to custodial credit risk because it is over the $100,000 FDIC insurance limit. Financial consultant Ron Traskos will meet with Chase Bank to set up the account for over limits to be put into securities, which was how the account was meant to be set up;
• Approved additions to the Personnel Policy dealing with conduct: An employee shall not represent his or her personal opinion as that of the library or its administration or speak on behalf of the library or library board in an official capacity unless directed to do so by the library director;
• While receiving a six-month review of the budget, heard Traskos say the total expenditures are running true to form with the budget and “we are running ahead of budget by $45,000”;
• Approved a Gift/Donation policy, including a receipt policy, for donations of print material, cash, gifts and bequests; and
• Heard a report on a new initiative under way that will teach local adults (those aged 16 and up) to read. Part-time librarian Dan Lodge is coordinating the project with Washtenaw Literacy’s Program Administrator and tutors for the Belleville program should begin training in March. Tutors will pay $25 for materials to get trained; learners will learn without charge.
By Diane Madigan