Trustee

Spring 2014

The Trustee communicates issues affecting libraries and library services. Once a library and systems join LTA, all their trustees automatically receive this quarterly publication published by LTA. To learn more about membership in LTA, Click Here.

Get Your Library Questions Answered! A New Service for LTA Members: Ask Joe Eisner

Spring 2014 issue of Trustee

Featured Question:Is the expenditure from library funds to purchase a gift for a retiring trustee or staff member a proper public purpose?
Answer: An expenditure from public moneys by a public library board to purchase a gift for a retiring board or staff member does not constitute   “a proper public purpose”.  For example, if the money is derived from tax appropriations the expenditure of library moneys for floral tributes to be sent to the funeral of a former board member would not be a proper public purpose according to a 1965 opinion by the New York State Comptroller. Since fines and fees, like tax appropriations, also are public moneys, their use for such expenditures would also be improper and not in furtherance “of a proper public purpose of the library”. The use of donations would also be improper, unless specifically earmarked by the donor pursuant to a formal trust agreement for use as the board sees fit,  and if so, should be accounted for separately from public funds.
Although not subject to audits by the Comptroller, it would be prudent for association library boards, in consultation with counsel,  to determine whether the foregoing should be considered applicable when  deciding whether  similar proposed expenditures should be funded from public moneys received from appropriating entities for support of the library.
Regardless of type of library, there would be nothing to prevent library board or staff members from contributing their own funds to pay for a gift to a retiring trustee or employee.
The foregoing should not be construed as legal advice, for which an attorney should be consulted.

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