Certain Library Board members have a personal battle with Mayor Jones because he wants whats best for the Village and they are more interested wasting tax dollars by supporting their friend who happens to be the Library Director. There is no telling what has been promised to certain Library members from this director but with her friends Dewberry Construction in position to perform the over-priced rehab, you can be sure there will be plenty of money to pass around. This elaborate scheme to cheat the taxpayers has now triggered a law suit that the taxpayers have to pay for ! Does the Director have to pay a dime of this? No, she just collects a paycheck and benefits to the tune of over $150k/year. Do the attorneys that advised the Board to sue the Village have to pay? No, in fact the longer the lawsuit goes on, the more of your tax dollars they grab. Why is it so hard for these three (3) Library Board members to see past the brainwash trap that they have fallen into? We have high hopes that the three competent Library Trustees that remain on the board, David Upshaw, Donna Barber and Roberta McGill, will continue to fight for the Village residents and make the best decisions for us. Lets review the facts:
Director Gardner made the wrong decision and chose to pursue a grant that only allowed for the renovation or modification of the existing library building. Gardner then manipulated the Library to focus on the grant and not a “New” library facility. Although the Library won a referendum allowing the sale of bonds, Director Gardner chose the wrong type of bonds to sell. The Library can only use its bonds for renovation of the existing Library building. Director Gardner convinced the bond issuer and library board to sell a “restricted” bond. The bonds sold by the library can only be used for renovation; they cannot be used for “New Construction”.
Why sell restricted bonds? Because restricting the bond promotes Director Gardner’s agenda, enhances her
position as it supports her grant application and the Dewberry renovation plan. More important, it dictates the
Library’s actions (they cannot use the funds from the sale of bonds to build a new library).
Instead of a larger modern library facility, Dewberry, along with Director Gardner, created a plan for renovation of the current 19,000 square foot structure including a 5000 square foot addition. The cost of this renovation and addition is approximately $314.00/sq ft or approximately $6.6 Million taxpayer dollars! (our current Library has had severe flooding in the past.) A NEW 20,000 square foot state of the art library could be built for about $175.00 a square foot or total cost of $3.5 Million. The voters were never informed of the choice between a small and costly renovation and a larger modern library facility.
It must be noted that the Library’s renovation plan and Dewberry are not new to the Village of Broadview; they were the same company under the name Burnidge Cassell Associates that in 2001’ specifically advised the previous Library Board that a similar structure was not feasible at the current site. However, Dewberry’s renovation plans do not meet Village zoning requirements. In fact, the Library needs three “variations” from the Village of Broadview Zoning Code in order to be able to renovate the Library. The most important of these variations is a variation asking the Village to completely waive its parking requirement for the Library. This has never been done before and will result in a lot less parking in the residential areas around the Library. Despite these problems, neither the Director Gardner nor Dewberry ever came to the Village to discuss the variations that would be needed to renovate the Library. Instead, they chose to ignore this fact and failed to discuss the zoning issues or apply for zoning variances with the Village prior to their moving forward with the proposed project. Instead, the Library attempted to force the Village to approve its request for variations. They did this by trying to utilize Wayne Arnold, President of the Village of Broadview Zoning Board of Appeals. Mr. Arnold is the husband of Library Board Member Katrina Arnold. Ultimately, this project was presented before the Village Zoning Board (ZBA) for consideration. In the meeting President Arnold was asked to re cues himself; because of conflict (his wife is the principle petitioner in front of his board). Arnold refused and cited advice from counsel, not his counsel but the library board’s counsel! During the ZBA meeting, the ZBA was pressured and threatened by members of the library board and their own president (Arnold) to approve the project. Unfortunately, the ZBA voted to support the project. This completely ignored the current Village Zoning Code. However, the Library did not contemplate that the ultimate decision in this case lies in the hands of the Village. The matter is now before the Village President and Board of Appeals for final determination. As a result, the Library is now pigeon holed into a position with a proposed renovation that does not meet Village of Broadview Zoning Code. So, instead of working with the Village of Broadview, the Library has decided to try to bully the Village into granting the three variations that it needs. In fact, various members of the Library have sent threatening letters to the Village of Broadview President and Trustees. Additionally, the Library has sent its members to the Village of Broadview public meetings to try to force a vote on the variations. Based on the series of events just outlined, this appears to have been a plan that was created and orchestrated by the director. All of the players influencing the decisions made by the library board are outsiders. All of them are paid with our tax dollars either on payroll or by contract. The attorneys, the Architects and the Bond issuers communicated with the director. The library board was an afterthought. They were provided only specific information regarding the plans only after they had already been discussed and determined by those outside entities. The Library Board was then basically directed on how to address and vote on those plans.