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John Jermain Memorial Library Trustee Race Will Include Write-In

Posted on 24 September 2010

Jackie Brody is vying to gain a seat on the John Jermain Memorial Library Board in next Tuesday’s trustee election as a write-in candidate, joining current board members Carol Williams and Carl Peterson, and trustee hopeful Linley Whelan on the ballot for the four available positions.

Brody’s announcement came just a week before the Tuesday, September 28 trustee election and budget vote, and fills out the candidate pool for the four available seats on JJML’s board.

According to Brody, she decided to pursue write-in candidacy after JJML Director Catherine Creedon reached out to her encouraging her to try for a seat on the board.

A Fulbright scholar, writer and editor, Brody came to Sag Harbor in 2003 after spending years summering in Shelter Island and on her sailboat with her husband Eugene, a Wall Street broker who died last August.

On Tuesday, she said as a resident of Noyac her first local vote was actually against the library’s plans to expand to a site at Mashashimuet Park, and the issue of library expansion kept her interest, pushing her to attend meetings about JJML’s plans for the future. Pleased with the new expansion plans, Brody joined the Friends of the John Jermain Memorial Library, and began volunteering with Save Sag Harbor and the Ladies Village Improvement Society.

Brody praised the architectural plans for the modern, 7,000 square foot expansion the library hopes to build at its Main Street location, along with the restoration of the building.

“They are restoring it to the beauty of the past in a way we can all enjoy,” she said.

Also new to the ballot, and she hopes the board, is Whelan, a real estate agent with Brown Harris Stevens, former President of the Friends of the John Jermain Memorial Library, co-founder of the Sag Harbor Youth Committee and current board member at the Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum.

The former owner of Provisions and the mother of four who attended local schools, Whelan worked with the Friends for nearly a decade.

Whelan said members of the board reached out to her and encouraged her candidacy, and acknowledged that while the public has already agreed to fund a close to $10 million expansion and restoration of JJML, there will be more hurdles to come.

“It’s a good time to be active because the library is in need of support in the midst of this big transition,” she said. “I have a love for this library and I recognize the importance of it.”

Peterson, who was appointed to the board in 2007 after then President Greg Ferraris resigned, is seeking his second elected term on the board, as is Williams.

The vice-president of the board, Peterson has been a resident of Sag Harbor since 1983 and oversees the buildings and grounds for the trustees, is liaison to the Mashashimuet Park Board and the library’s ad-hoc fundraising committee. A social worker, Peterson is a real estate broker, antiques dealer and restorer.

Involved since the library weathered a failed referendum, Peterson said he believes the current board has made a lot of progress, securing public financing for an expanded library and hiring Creedon as the new director.

“I am very excited about how far we have come,” he said last Wednesday during a candidates’ forum at the library, adding it is his hope that by the close of a second three-year term the building project will be completed.

Williams’ interest has been in long range planning for the library, which is the committee she leads for the trustees. She wants to ensure the library has the flexibility to continue to adapt to the changing needs of the Sag Harbor community.

A writer, credited with making the official map of Sag Harbor, Williams has also been the secretary to the village planning board and vice-president of the Sag Harbor Elementary School Parent, Teacher and Student Association.

“The programming here reaches so many sections of the community,” said Williams on Wednesday. “I have tremendous respect for the staff and the director and very much want to see this continue for the next 100 years.”

In addition to choosing who will serve on the board of trustees, residents will also weigh in on a proposed $1,195,502 operating budget for 2011, $64,000 of which will allow the library to rent a temporary space on West Water Street this fall. The proposal represents a 9.8 percent increase in spending over this year’s budget.

According to Creedon, outside of small increases in salaries and employee benefits – much of which is outside the library’s control – the budget was kept lean, save for the need to increase funding for a temporary space for the library starting this winter, when they hope to begin aspects of the building project.

As it is considered an operating expense, the board is prohibited from using voter approved referendum monies for the temporary home. Without that cost factored in, library district residents would be asked to approve a budget just below four percent, she added.

The budget vote and trustee election will be held on September 28 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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