BELLOWS FALLS - After its search committee failed to produce any recommendations for a new director, the trustees of the Rockingham Free Public Library decided Tuesday how to break the news to the 19 viable candidates who applied and tell them they can resubmit their credentials.

The trustees in January established a search committee, made up of three library trustees and various members of the community, and tasked it with narrowing down the list of candidates to replace Célina Houlné, who was terminated in September 2013. The committee whittled the list down to five applicants, though could not make a recommendation for the library trustees.

The trustees voted Tuesday to authorize Chairwoman Janice Mitchell-Love to inform all 19 initial candidates they did not meet the library's needs "at this time." All will be told, however, that they can reapply for the job, as the whole process will now start from scratch. There was debate on how to word the letters to the candidates, with trustees wanting to be both polite and straightforward.

All trustees were present in the library's meeting room except for Laura Senes, who had to speak and vote via cell phone.

The board also voted to rerun the vacant library director job's advertisement with the American Library Association and all other media previously used to announce the available position. Elayne Clift was the only trustee to vote against the motion, made by Pat Fowler. Applications are due by Friday, April 11.

Clift said she did not understand the point of the board making this sort of decision when there will be a new group of trustees next week. There are five candidates vying for seats. Carol Blackwood, Doreen Aldrich and current Trustees Ray Massucco and Deborah Wright are seeking three-year terms while David Gould, who was on the search committee, is running unopposed for a two-year seat. Blackwood, Aldrich, Gould and Massucco make up a "unified slate" of candidates unhappy with the direction of the library.

Rockingham residents can vote for library trustees during the townwide election set for Tuesday, March 4. The polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Masonic Temple on Westminster Street. The window of opportunity to register to vote ends today at 5 p.m.

"This board has no idea what the next board vote on," Clift said. "(Sending letter to the 19 candidates and reposting the advertisement) is ridiculous. It's irrational. The new board can reverse anything the old board has done."

These decisions by the trustees came after they failed to pass a motion to refrain from taking any action regarding a new director or interim director.

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