LOWER SAUCON TWP., Pa. – A Lower Saucon Township councilman claims that the Hellertown Area Library Board of Trustees allowed a citizen to cast a vote on board matters.
On Wednesday, council Vice President Jason Banonis said the library board allowed Janie Hecker to remain a member for two months after her Dec. 31, 2020 term had expired. He said she even cast a vote during the board's Feb. 23, 2021 meeting regarding the library's $100,000 endowment that it receives annually from Lower Saucon Township.
"These kinds of activities should not happen with taxpayer funds," Banonis said. "I think the taxpayers are owed an explanation."
The nine-member library board has representatives from both Hellertown and Lower Saucon. Lower Saucon has four total seats including one council liaison, Councilwoman Kristen Stauffer. The township council appoints each member. The library board wanted council to appoint Hecker in March to replace a resigning library board member, but township council instead picked Sara Phillips.
"I share your concern," said Councilman Tom Carocci. "The minutes showed Mrs. Stauffer was at the meeting. There's just no regard whatsoever."
Stauffer defended herself, stating that there was no vote made by a nonboard member.
"I think it's clear that we're not supposed to give directions as to what to do but we are to serve and bring our opinions," she said.
"The library has a contract to negotiate this year and we were going to have people to negotiate that," said Carocci. "We need to make sure of that for Lower Saucon Township's $100,000, we at least get a seat at the table and a vote at the table."
"That just reinforces my concern here," said Banonis. "There's a disregard for the taxpayer and money being provided to them."
"There's no way a nonboard member would be able to vote on any kind or make a motion," said council President Sandra Yerger.
"The concerns over the $100,000 that we spend at the library," said Stauffer, "I'd like to see this council put their eyes on things that we spend even more money on as much as we do at the library."