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Friday, October 2, 2009

Atkinson officials work to clean up paper trail...

Article submission

Atkinson officials work to clean up paper trail
Donors gave $150,000 for new library

By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — Kimball Library opened a year ago, but the selectmen recently asked the library trustees to reveal all construction costs that were paid by a group of anonymous donors.

Residents approved spending $2.7 million to build the new library and tear down the old one, but that would only cover the bare necessities. To make up for extra items on the trustees' wish list, some 300 people donated about $150,000 through the Friends of the Atkinson Library to help pay for energy-efficient lights and carpet upgrades.

The problem is the extras were paid for by residents directly to the contractors, according to Selectman Bill Friel.

"None of the paperwork went through the town," Friel said.

The town needs to know exactly how much donors spent on the construction project and what improvements they paid for.

Selectmen also need to see all warranties, contracts and other documents associated with work paid for by the donors.

"The whole paper trail is missing," Friel said.

Until March, only the selectmen were given the authority to accept gifts and they couldn't do so without documentation, Friel said. At Town Meeting in March, residents approved a warrant article that gave library trustees the authority to accept gifts.

Once they have all the requested information, Friel said, the board won't have a problem accepting the donations retroactively.

But library trustees said at a meeting Tuesday night that they had already provided the selectmen with the information they requested.

"Their difficulty is they have a wretched retrieval system," trustee Chairwoman Kay Galloway said.

Ron Lamarre, the architect for the library, said the lowest bid came in about $200,000 more than what the town had approved, so that's why the donations were needed.

A ceremonial shovel, stained-glass window and an exterior clock all were donated to enhance the library, Lamarre said.

"I think there are many people who were happy to be part of the legacy fund," Galloway said.

Miscommunication between the trustees and the selectmen is nothing new.

Galloway said the selectmen were invited to all trustee meetings starting in 2006 during the planning for the new library until after it was opened in October 2008.

"One of the difficulties we've had is a selectmen's liaison that has been absent more often than present," Galloway said.

To resolve the issue, trustees said they plan to hold a meeting to make sure selectmen have all the information they need.

Friel said a meeting would be scheduled soon.


Anonymous said...

Love the spin Kay tries to put on this as she's busy covering her ass. Wretched retrieval system. Ya right. Hand over the illegal contracts you had the "friends of the library" take out on behalf of the town Kay.

Anonymous said...

Kay keeps pointing fingers at the Selectmen. I watched the Selectmen's meeting a few weeks regarding the other blog article. Sounds to me like she's the problem with all the venom spewing from her mouth. No wonder the Selectmen and the library struggle to communicate when one person is so intent on poisoning the well.

Anonymous said...

$150,000 and no paper trail?

Sniff sniff. smells funny. Where'd it all go?

Who are the "friends" anyway? If their handing out cash I want some too. No paper trail required for me. I need me some friends like dat.

Anonymous said...

All library people should show at deliberative session. Bring your friends. Vote for change.

Anonymous said...

As far as I know, the Library Trustees have COMPLETE control of the Library. Check RSA 202A, which gives them alll the authority they need. 202-A:6 says they shall have entire custody and maintenance of the library and all property of the town relating thereto.

202-2 says that every Library shall receive regular support at least annually from public AND private sources.

There are statutory requirements for public hearings for any donation which exceeds $5,000. I don't know if they adhered to those regulations (I'm betting they do) but the hearing minutes would be recorded in the Trustees records, as required by the law.

There's more. Check it out if you're looking for something to nitpick. RSAs are on line.

Bottom line. It's their Library. Meeetings with the Selectmen are useful in telling the public what's going on. They are not necessary. You can always go to a Trustees' Meeting to learn what's happening.

By the way, I am not affiliated with the Library, never have been and probably never will. I prefer to buy my own books. Thin I don't have to give them back.

Anonymous said...

It's not "their" library. It's the town's. In the same RSA that you cite, it also states that the voters can eliminate the library if desired. The library gets their budget from the BOS. As far as the "friends" are concerned, they can no more hire a contractor on behalf of the town than can I hire one on behalf of you. It's illegal.

Anonymous said...

They do not get their budget from the BOS, but from the voters!

And you are right, they can not modify a town bulding without public disclosure and approval, but neither can the chief, and yet that is exactly what he recently did to avoid poeple seeing town employees work for his private business.

Anonymous said...

The library gets their money from the town AND PRIVATE SOURCES.

Anonymous said...

What's the big deal here? Our library got donations and spent it. Where's the law against that? Which RSA? I'd like to know more how the whole process works. Theres an awful big fuss about it. I hope no laws were broken. I know chief got in trouble for not handling funds correctly. Is it another case of mishandled funds?

Anonymous said...

the chief DID NOT get in trouble, because he founded his own private slush fund to avoid trouble. NOONE EVER tried to hold him accountable for all the monies requested out of the donation accts. that were not spent on what he asked for them for.

Anonymous said...

Let's not bring chief into this please. The library trustees and the library architect and the friends of the library have questions to answer. not phil. I want more info about wretched retrieval systems. Gut tells me too much cash was getting moved around.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how much the architect got paid for his work? I heard it was in the hundreds of thousands of bucks. anyone know for sure? I thought they drew plans and were done. This guys is hanging around forever.

Anonymous said...

wouldn't you be hangin around for your next meal if this was true?
could i have a second heapin helping of bonus bucks and please hold the gravy since i'm kinda of full of that last plate of cash!!!

Anonymous said...

Which paper trail? The TOILET PAPER trail?