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Mayor Doig questions the library’s finances

By Staff | Nov 6, 2013

Sistersville Public Library

A three-page packet from Sistersville Mayor Ann Doig titled “Some Problems that I’ve had with the Library” was handed out at the Oct. 28 Sistersville Public Library Board meeting.

However, Doig’s documents were passed out by Councilman Bill Rice, who was recently appointed by the mayor to the library committee. He explained that Doig had to leave midway through the meeting.

“She told me she had to pick her granddaughter up and asked me to go over these with you,” said Rice.

The first item addressed on the packet concerned the $10,000 donation the library received “over a year ago” to remodel the downstairs meeting room. Doig wrote that the funds were not accounted for to this day.

The form then indicated that in 2010 and 2011 the library could not locate all of its financial records through the course of the audit, specifically large amounts of cash donations.

“It has been explained to them (the city),” said Library Director Heather Weekley, addressing Doig’s questions following the meeting.

“There was $10,000 over what we had because they did not have the copy of the check from the anonymous donor.”

Weekley said that no funds had been missing and the auditors permitted the identity of the donor to remain anonymous. She said that, despite the auditor’s approval, the city cited the unaccounted for increase of $10,000 and would not reappoint Treasurer Jennie Hicks to the library board. According to her, the city then appointed a new board member and placed that person in the treasurer position. Weekley said that while the city has the ability to appoint board and committee members, they cannot legally appoint someone to a position such as treasurer.

She explained that appointing members to positions on the board is the board’s responsibility and the W.Va. Library Commission still recognized Hicks as treasurer on their paperwork until the library board voted Burl Folger into that position in July. She said that despite removing Hicks from the board, the city still allows her to take part in library matters.

Weekley felt it was important to point out the extensive work that Hicks, who continues to be an active volunteer, has done for the library. Weekley, who is the one responsible for working with the auditors, said it was “ridiculous” that the city did not reappoint Hicks. She said they did not even ask for clarification on the matter.

“Neither one of us actually have access to the funds,” said Weekley, clarifying that all financial transactions must be approved by the board.

Doig’s form also inquired as to what work was done in the downstairs section and by whom. Weekley explained that her husband Greg Weekley had worked on the downstairs renovations on an individual basis. She stated that this measure had been approved by the board, as well as their service center in Moundsville. She explained that the unnamed benefactor approved her husband do the work and even worked alongside him to see the project through. She said that although the board initially had its concerns, they compared her husband’s quote to bids received years ago and found his offer to be the lowest.

As for the work done, Weekley said that Doig had been downstairs to see it for herself.

Doig’s list of problems also questioned where money went that the library received in donations and gifts: $18,693 in 2010 and $15,736 in 2011.

Although unsure of Doig’s figures at the time of the meeting, Weekley later explained that all donations and gifts go back into the library. She cited: a new shelf for the children’s section, the repainting of the children’s section, a new rug, posters hanging up around the library, new tables and chairs for the multipurpose room, and new books. She said they also used that money to host more programs.

“What they (the city) don’t realize is that anything that comes in that is not assigned goes under donation,” she said. “The money we get from the county commission goes under donation. That’s $2,000 (a year) right there.”

She said that some of those funds from donations and gifts cannot be immediately spent because they are meant to go toward particular causes. She said that when those who pass away leave money to the library, selected books are often purchased in their honor and dedicated to the benefactor’s memory.

“When they want to know where the money went, it goes toward books and supplies,” said Librarian Sabrina Kyle.

As for unpaid payroll taxes Doig’s papers cited, claiming that they put the library “at risk for large penalties and interest,” Weekley said that those issues are being corrected.

“We actually didn’t know about them,” she said. “When I took over (as director) in 2009, no one explained them to us. We’re working on that right now. We turned it all in, we’re just waiting for the IRS to get back to us.”

“I also would like to know who did the young people’s room,” read Doig’s form. “A grant for it was for $3,771.”

Weekley explained that her husband was paid $1,000 to remove carpeting, lay the new flooring, paint the walls, move books and shelving, frame and hang posters, assemble shelving and tables, and move the furniture. According to her, the rest of the funding went toward materials. She said that her husband had also done free work for the library in the past and would have done further work if not for city complaints to the board.

She said that city officials told her that it was illegal for her husband to do the work, even if the board approved it. Weekley stated that the board discussed the matter in length. She explained that she felt there was no violation because she is not a board member and had no vote or say on the matters.

The second page of Doig’s form cited a 2012 Renovations Quote, which librarians and board members said was a “dummy quote” drawn up at one of their meetings to assess possible costs. Doig’s form questioned who the approximated total was paid to, and Weekley stated that there was never a payment because the form was not an invoice.

“Who is questioning an unnamed estimate about anything?” asked Joe Jones, co-president of the library board. “You tell her (Ann) to call me. I’ll talk to her. We’ve got enough paper floating around as it is without having to argue over something that’s not a fact.”

According to the librarians and board members, the final page of Doig’s three-page form was taken from the library’s five-year plan, turned into the West Virginia Library Commission in 2009. It noted that the library had desired to make a complete inventory of historical materials and asked about the inventory’s whereabouts.

Librarians Weekley and Kyle explained that the five-year plan was a nonbinding goal and were not certain how Doig obtained a copy of it. They said it was a “wish list” of things they would like to accomplish and stated that the historic materials mentioned had not yet been inventoried, although that is a goal they would like to complete.

As for their finances, both librarians welcomed any interested parties to examine their records. They said that the results of their recent audits are online.

“Every single check and every single invoice is accounted for, and every donation is documented,” said Weekley, stating that they have not failed any of their audits.

“All of our stuff is public record,” said Kyle.

Weekley explained that any checks on behalf of the library must be signed by two board members.

“It’s the board’s library to run, not the city’s” she said.

Although they are still not certain where Mayor Doig obtained all of her information or how accurate it is, Library Co-President Beverly Henderson is currently going through records to resolve these questions.