September 24, 2013 | 448 views
Elmont Library board meeting grows heated
Board V.P. storms out during public session
Tempers were tested at the Elmont Library board meeting on Sept. 19. Patrick Nicolosi, the board’s vice president, left the meeting abruptly while library patron Tom Madera, of New Hyde Park, was speaking during the public session, and the meeting was immediately adjourned.
Madera, who regularly attends the monthly library meetings and has often spoken out against the board, used the public session to address a $100,000 state grant to the library that was recently rescinded. The grant, which had been made available to the library for an adult-child learning room in 2009, was redirected to the Elmont School District by State Sen. Jack Martins in June following a dispute in which the senator said that the board did not pursue the grant on time.
Madera, who said he had obtained email exchanges between the library’s business consultant, Frank Marino, and the state Dormitory Authority through the Freedom of Information Law, told the board that it did not act responsibly in securing the grant.
“The library dropped the ball on [the grant],” Madera told the Herald following the meeting. “I wasn’t there for Jack [Martins]. The board didn’t comply with the law. Jesus Christ could have given them that grant, and all they had to do was follow instructions. I hit a nerve.”
In a later email to the Herald, Madera compared Nicolosi’s sudden exit from meeting to a “petulant child going to his room.” He wrote that “Nicolosi put on a deplorable display at the meeting” and that “if he had any understanding [of] his role as trustee and a true desire to protect this library, he would keep on walking.”
Nicolosi, who said he suspected that the grant was redirected by Martins in part because he, Nicolosi, opposes a proposal for a soccer stadium at Belmont Park that Martins has endorsed, stood up while Madera spoke, and left after a brief exchange. Nicolosi later told the Herald that anyone following the history of the grant merely through email exchanges would be unable to understand what happened.
“[Madera] needs to stop it already,” Nicolosi said. “He doesn’t know the history, and no one has time for this. There’s no conspiracy, there’s nothing hidden. Why waste so much time? There’s no sense in accusing and badgering people.”