In the biggest turnout Round Lake has seen in years, more than 100 people attended a meeting Monday night to stick up for fired village librarian Theresa Marchione.
At a special meeting of the Women’s Round Lake Improvement Society, a majority of voting members called for her immediate rehiring, and demanded the resignation of Library Director Carol Sheffer, who fired her.
Neither motion is binding on the Round Lake Library board of trustees, which says it is investigating the situation.
“For the first time today, we got a statement from the employee,” said Sandra Debus, president of the library board. “We will have a decision in writing, and it will be rendered within the next week.”
The library board will meet at 7 tonight at the Village Hall, but Debus said attorneys have advised the board not to discuss the firing in public.
The Round Lake Library is one of the centers of this tiny village of 600 people. It is a private library that is tax-supported but operated by WRLIS, which is a nonprofit organization.
Residents have expressed outrage over the firing of the 24-year library employee since the news became public a week ago.
The turnout for Monday’s WRLIS meeting was the largest at a village meeting in many years.
Marchione was fired by Sheffer after she closed the library 40 minutes early May 29, the evening of a tornado warning across an area that included southern Saratoga County.
The town of Malta had sounded its emergency sirens just moments before Marchione’s decision.
If there were other factors behind the firing, they have not been publicly disclosed. Many residents took shelter that evening, and think closing the library was an appropriate action.
“I think it’s appalling what is happening here,” said Mayor Dixie Lee Sacks.
The library board has held two closed-door meetings on the situation since it came to light, including one at which former mayor Bill Ryan resigned from the library board.
Ryan and Sacks on Monday urged Marchione’s reinstatement, and that the board ask for Sheffer’s departure.
Former WRLIS president and library trustee Maggie McDonough expressed “shock and outage” over the firing, but said Sheffer shouldn’t be forced out.
“I think Carol made a mistake. The punishment does not fit the crime,” McDonough said.
Sheffer, who was not at Monday’s meeting, has not commented publicly on the situation. Neither has Marchione.
She did, however, provide a written statement to the library board Monday at its request.
Marchione is the sister-in-law of state Sen. Kathy Marchione, R-Halfmoon.