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2014 Audit & Legislative Requests Support Materials

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Buffalo & Erie County Public Library

Support Materials Requested from the Library in 2014

by the Erie County Comptroller’s Office

and

by Erie County Legislators Joseph C. Lorigo and Edward A. Rath, III

 

November 4, 2014

Message from Jack Connors, chair,

Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Board of Trustees

 

The Library Board of Trustees, Administration and staff take our roles and responsibilities seriously.  The Library remains transparent.  Monthly financial statements, Board minutes and agendas are posted on the public website and are also available in-house, for public viewing, during regular open hours at the downtown Central Library.  

Background:

On February 13, 2014 the Erie County Legislature passed a resolution requesting the Erie County Comptroller’s Office perform an audit of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library System.

In a letter dated February 18, 2014, the Comptroller’s office requested the following materials pertaining to their audit of the Library covering the period January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2013:

  • Copies of operating policies and procedures for the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library;
  • All operating financial information including income and expenditures spreadsheets;
  • Lists of all current Library Board members, who appointed them and their beginning and end term dates;
  • Research performed with regards to cost of operation per library;
  • Special Taxing District information
    • A copy of the (Siena College Research) Poll and results*;
    • Draft of the proposed legislation for the taxing district;
    • Financial projections and strategic plan if the district is created;
    • Copies of all communications including but not limited to electronic correspondence between the following parties in regards to a Special Taxing District:
      • Any member of Library Administration and any employee with Communications Services (the Library’s outside consultant hired to assist with education and advocacy for creation of the district);
      • Mary Jean Jakubowski (Library Director) and Libby Post, (Communications Services President/CEO);
      • Mary Jean Jakubowski and Kenneth Stone (Library Chief Financial Officer);
      • Kenneth Stone and Libby Post; 
      • Any member of Library Administration and elected officials.
  • List of vendors utilized for procurement of books, publications, supplies, etc.;
  • Copies of contracts for individuals or businesses providing consulting or other professional services to or on behalf of the Library;
  • Buffalo & Erie County Public Library’s strategic plan.

The Library was also asked to provide Library Foundation records. We did not provide anything from the Library Foundation because the Library Foundation is an independent, separate, 501c3 organization, neither governed, nor run by the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library. 

*Pursuant to the Comptroller’s request, the Library did provide a copy of the Siena Research Poll as the document was both a public document and in our possession at the time of the request. The Poll was conducted for and paid for by the Library Foundation of Buffalo and Erie County. Here are the Poll’s Crosstabs.  

Click to view the Comptroller’s Audit Report which was received on June 23, 2014 .

Click to view the Library’s response to the Audit which was released on June 23, 2014.

Click to view the Library’s Media Release which was sent out on June 23, 2014.

On October 23, 2014, during an Erie County Legislative Community Enrichment meeting, Erie County Legislators Joseph C. Lorigo and Edward A. Rath, III requested the Library provide the committee with documentation about becoming a Special Library District.

On October 24, 2014, Jack Connors Chair, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, sent a letter to Legislator Kevin Hardwick, chair of Community Enrichment Committee, requesting clarification of the request for information.

On October 29, 2014, a letter to the Library was received from Erie County Legislators Joseph C. Lorigo and Edward A. Rath, III. The letter requested the following documentation:

  

  1. All email communications between Ms. Jakubowski, or any other employee or board member of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library and Libby Post or any other employee of Communications Services since the inception of the working agreement between the two parties in 2011 until present; and
  2. Level of the Library Foundation money spent on the LDI in addition to the taxpayer funds we discussed last week; and
  3. The contract between Whiteman, Osterman, & Hanna, LLP and the Library; and
  4. All billing statements from Whiteman, Osterman, & Hanna LLP including the time sheets provided by the law firm detailing what work they accomplished during their representation of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.

On Monday, November 3, 2014 a package was delivered by the Library to Legislators Lorigo and Rath and to the 11–member Erie County Legislature and County Executive in response to the request for materials.  The package was delivered on a USB drive.  

Click to view the e-mail correspondence

1. E-Mail Communications

Note, the e-mails have been provided in complete data files with attachments

and full headers. E-mails are in the zip file with each message in its own file in industry standard .eml format. Files are readable with a text editor. To extract the attachments, please use a utility such as ripMIME or mu_extract or you may drag and drop the .emf files into a mail program such as Windows Live Mail.

Click to view the contracts

Click below to view the billing statements

In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to respond to the baseless accusations which Legislators Lorigo and Rath have made against the Library in a public forum.  I want to make clear that, to my knowledge, neither I nor any member of the Board of Trustees, or Library Administration have been involved in any illegal activities:

  1. Neither I, nor any member of the Board of Trustees, or Library Administration as representatives of the Library, have engaged in political endorsements;
  1. Neither I, nor any member of the Board of Trustees, or Library Administration, as representatives of the Library, misspent public funds;
  1. Libby Post through her Communication Services agency was hired to perform the same functions they had been hired for in libraries throughout New York State for library district development.  She is not a registered lobbyist;
  1. Neither I, nor any member of Library Board of Trustees, or Library Administration, as representatives of the Library, had any involvement in election district redistricting.

Finally, thousands of library e-mails regarding establishing a Special Library District were included in the requests by the Erie County Comptroller for the Audit.  Legislators Rath and Lorigo expanded on the scope of information requested.  E-mails between the Communication Services (Libby Post's agency) and the Library's staff, trustees and administration have been provided. Some of those e-mails were written out of frustration and may reflect non-professional language and unflattering personal comments - for this I apologize.

The opinions of Libby Post are hers and hers alone.

 

Thank you,

 

Jack Connors

Chair, Board of Trustees

Buffalo & Erie County Public Library