Rockingham Free Public Library (Zachary P. Stephens/Reformer)
Rockingham Free Public Library (Zachary P. Stephens/Reformer)
Monday May 20, 2013

BELLOWS FALLS -- The Rockingham Free Public Library Board of Trustees voted Saturday to close the building until the end of July after it learned its previous vote was unsatisfactory.

The trustees had voted 4-2 earlier this month to close the library so renovations could be completed, but a state law regarding a quorum was soon brought to light. Vermont law mandates that a minimum of five people must vote in the affirmative in order to pass a motion.

Trustee Vice Chairwoman Deborah Wright said a new vote was taken at the special meeting Saturday night and the motion passed, 5-1. She said Pat Fowler was the only dissenting voter.

Wright said there apparently has been an error in the trustees' bylaws since 1995 and it will have to be addressed in the future.

Some in the village were displeased with trustees, saying the special meeting was held illegally. But Wright said 24 hours' notice was given (as required by law) and fliers were posted at five public buildings -- the library, the Rockingham Town Hall, the public kiosk just outside of it, the Bellows Falls Police Department, and the Saxtons River Post Office. The vice chairwoman said the minimum number of public postings is three.

Wright said about 10 members of the public attended the special meeting.

Deb Wetzel -- a former library trustee, volunteer and Friend of the Library -- was unhappy and believed the public did not have enough notice. She said she did not know about the meeting until 8 p.m. Saturday.

"It's just one more piece of this puzzle that's very confusing," she said, adding that she feel the taxpayers are having the rug pulled out from under them.

Wetzel is an adamant critic of the current board and does not believe it is necessary to close the library until the end of July.

She told the Reformer there will be protesters at the library today, starting at 10 a.m. She said the library staff will be inside working, but the public will not be allowed in.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.