Praise librarian for sound judgment, don't fire her
There’s an understandable firestorm of protest going on in Round Lake over the firing of longtime librarian Theresa Marchione, and it may turn into a tornado Tuesday night if the library board doesn’t reinstate her at its monthly meeting.
Marchione, a 24-year employee of the private but tax-funded library, got canned May 31, two days after she took it upon herself to send patrons home and close 40 minutes early. Her excuse? A tornado warning was in effect for the region, with the National Weather Service predicting that one could hit right in the tiny Saratoga County village.
It didn’t quite turn out that way, but that doesn’t mean Marchione didn’t make the right call. With the library located in an old building and surrounded by large trees, why take chances? The library was slated to close at 8 p.m., so patrons missed a total of 40 minutes of library time — no big deal. It’s not like they’d paid to get in and had to be given a refund.
It’s also not like the sun was out with nary a cloud in the sky when Marchione chose to close. The siren at the Round Lake firehouse had gone off with the weather service alert, and there were already severe thunderstorms in the area. Though a tornado never actually touched down in Round Lake, one did just a few miles away in Clifton Park, where winds in excess of 100 mph were recorded. Given the unpredictability of these severe weather events, and the damage they can inflict, extreme caution in dealing with them is advisable.
Frankly, it’s hard to believe this was the reason Library Director Carol Sheffer fired Marchione, who is the sister-in-law of state Sen. Kathy Marchione. Neither Sheffer, Marchione nor any board members has been willing to talk publicly about the incident, but village mayor Dixie Lee Sacks (who is also incensed about the firing) says it was indeed why Marchione got canned.
The library board held two emergency personnel meetings in four days this week; during one of them, trustee Bill Ryan reportedly resigned — also declining to elaborate when asked about it later on. So the stage is set for Tuesday’s nights regular monthly meeting, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see half the village’s 600 residents show up. We hope library trustees have the sense, or compassion, to reverse this decision or at least offer an excuse if they don’t.