Cut the flow of funds to the SD&G Library system? Not a viable option, Simpson says. Special board meeting scheduled Sept. 6

The sign at the Morewood Library, one of three SD&G branches slated to close next month. Nelson Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

Nelson Zandbergen
Nation Valley News

CORNWALL — He who pays the piper calls the tune, right?

Left unasked in SD&G Chief Administrative Officer Tim Simpson’s recent queries to United Counties legal counsel regarding the autonomy of the SD&G Library Board was this follow-up question: If County Council can’t directly overrule a decision of the SD&G Library Board, do those politicians not indirectly possess the theoretical power to do so by cutting funds to that institution altogether?

“I can’t speak for County Council, nor am I a lawyer, and therefore can only provide my opinion,” replied Simpson in an email to Nation Valley News. “I don’t think stopping funding to the library system is a viable or reasonable option. If County Council expressed a desire to move in that direction, I would recommend that the requirements of the Public Libraries Act, Employment Standards Act, etc. be reviewed in detail to ensure continued compliance with the requirements thereunder.”

The largest single source of money for the SD&G Library system comes from property taxpayers in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. The allocation is voted upon every year by the people’s elected representatives during budget deliberations at 26 Pitt Street.

County Council’s control over the library board — or lack of it — has become an issue in recent weeks, following the late-July decision by the board to close the branches in Morewood, Dalkeith and St. Andrews West on Sept. 3.

Frustrated by the lack of a scheduled board meeting until after the closures take place, opponents of the impending closures instead brought their concerns to the Aug. 22 council meeting, where the politicians themselves were divided on the matter. 

Sept. 6 special board meeting now set

In the meantime, a special Library Board meeting has since been scheduled Sept. 6 at the United Counties building.  North Glengarry Deputy Mayor Jamie MacDonald confirmed for Nation Valley News that he and South Glengarry Deputy Mayor Frank Prevost called the meeting in their capacity as members of the board.

“The purpose of this meeting is for the affected library groups to have their say in front of the library board and to push for a vote to overturn the decision of July 29th,” MacDonald, who also serves as United Counties warden, explained in an email.

Falling after the planned closures,  the Sept. 6 date was chosen as “the only time we could get quorum,” said the warden, who has asked that nothing be removed from the affected branches before the 10 a.m. meeting.

The next regular meeting of the board is otherwise set for Sept. 8 at the Lancaster branch.

This article was edited to update information on the special Sept. 6 Library Board meeting. 

 

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