Amid discussions to close the county Library, it seems that the Freeholder liaison has missed most of the meetings. I blasted Magazzu and crew when they reneged on their sworn duties to represent the taxpayers by blowing off their committees, and I am not going to be silent when our current freeholders do the same.
Official minutes from commission meetings show Fiocchi has attended just three of nine monthly meetings this year. The commission did not meet in June and July. Fiocchi does not dispute the attendance records.
If you do not have plans to attend at least a majority of the committee meetings as you promised when accepting appointment to committees, you should step down. I don’t care if you are Jane Jannarone or Sam Fiocchi. I happen to like Sam, an fully supported him in his campaign, but reading this sort of news in the paper is disconcerting. I support candidates that keep their word and work for their constituents.
The debate on closing the library is emotional. When times get tough, the arts and culture is the first to feel the axe, as these are considered non-critical. Of course I disagree with this assessment – they continue to find tons of money to pay lawyers, who in my opinion should be the first to be cut! But that is just me…
However, the arguments made by the supporters of the county library don’t hold much water. For instance:
(Committee V.P. Mary) Moyer and other advocates, including Cumberland County Library Director Jean Edwards, have said closing the facility near the Bridgeton-Fairfield borer dwould be a blow to residents who live far from one of Cumberland’s three city libraries.
The county library is just outside the city of Bridgeton, which has it’s own library. The only way to get to the county library is if you own your own vehicle, as it is located on the outskirts of Bridgeton, and not near any population center. That argument is ludicrous, if someone can make it to the county library, they can certainly make it to the Bridgeton library.
The county has five libraries, so to refuse to even consider consolidation at any level reeks of personal empire building. The arguments that those seeking jobs and that do not have access to a computer would be hurt by closing the county branch fall quite short. Again, if somebody cannot afford a computer in this day and age, they most likely do not have transportation either. The county has two One-Stop Employment centers, and as the give-away of thousands of dollars to victims of a recent storm have proved, if someone wants something bad enough, they will find a way to get there.
However, just as it is incumbent on the library commission to be open-minded and willing to compromise, it is also critical that the county elected leaders make the minimal effort of showing up and listening to the other side.