Category Archives: Rockingham Free Public Library

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Turmoil at the RFPL Accusations of open meeting law violations, improper actions by trustees chair, and slander bog down library

BELLOWS FALLS—With renovations to the Rockingham Free Public Library in a state of uncertainty following the bankruptcy of its contractor, its board of trustees has been at the center of some ongoing turmoil behind the scenes.

Amid the practicalities of how to accommodate the public during a construction process that has been disrupted, library trustees are engaging in an overall review and revision of library policies, said Deborah Wright, vice-chair of the trustees.

In the process, the board has been redefining “roles and responsibilities” and trying to create clear lines of authority and responsibility — a process that has at times created scenarios where staff don’t feel heard.

 

With additional reporting by Jeff Potter.

Originally published in The Commons issue #200 (Wednesday, April 24, 2013).

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Attorney general: Library Trustees chair violated Open Meeting Law No penalties issued, but Mitchell-Love advised to seek additional training

By Allison Teague/The Commons

BELLOWS FALLS—The Vermont Attorney General’s office says Rockingham Free Public Library Trustees Chair Jan Mitchell-Love had violated the Open Meeting Law several times this year, but said that there is no proof that she “knowingly and intentionally” did so.

That was the conclusion of Assistant Attorney General Bill Reynolds, who responded on Monday to complaints of violations of the law in a letter to Mitchell-Love.

The investigation stemmed from allegations filed in April, May, and June by Trustees Elayne Clift and Carolyn Frisa, and Adam and Debbie Wetzel.

Originally published in The Commons issue #234 (Wednesday, December 18, 2013). This story appeared on page A1.

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Rockingham Free Public Library, town take account of construction expenses Town attorney offers advice about public records

By Allison Teague/The Commons

BELLOWS FALLS—The addition and renovation to the Rockingham Free Public Library has ended up $153,089.60 over budget.

While Municipal Manager Willis “Chip” Stearns III told The Commons this week that the “when, how much, from where, ‘cash’ is coming is not a known set of information,” he added that “the RFPL trustees have this amount of cash held in accounts under their control already.”

Originally published in The Commons issue #230 (Wednesday, November 20, 2013). This story appeared on page A3.

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State Department of Libraries ‘very interested in helping’ RFPL trustees, state librarian says

By Allison Teague/The Commons

BELLOWS FALLS—“Libraries are unique among municipal government and among town departments,” noted State Librarian Martha Reid, speaking to The Commons about the recent issues surrounding the Rockingham Free Public Library.

Originally published in The Commons issue #230 (Wednesday, November 20, 2013). This story appeared on page A3.

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Out in the open Secretary of State comes to BF as part of statewide tour to teach the public and local officials alike about public-records and open meeting laws

By Allison Teague/The Commons

BELLOWS FALLS—Secretary of State Jim Condos and Deputy Secretary of State Brian Leven, an attorney, passing through town on their second Biennial Transparency Tour, stopped by with a message for Windham County public officials and government employees.

Originally published in The Commons issue #231 (Wednesday, November 27, 2013). This story appeared on page A1.

2011, 2012, 2013 NENPA Awards

VTica_COMMONS_PR 1st place arts and entertainment NENPA 2011

YOUNG GAY AND BULLIED – 2010 – 3rd Place – NENPA Feature Writing Social Issues 2011

INTO THE WOODS – 2012 – 2nd Place – NENPA Feature Writing Social Issues

TURMOIL AT THE RFPL – 2013 – 2nd Place NENPA Government Reporting 2014