Four people are running for three open seats on the nine-member Board of Trustees at the Rogers Memorial Library in Southampton.
On Saturday, August 3, the library will host a meet-the-candidates forum from 2 to 3 p.m. Each candidate is seeking one four-year term on the board, where two seats will be left vacant by Bill Murphy and Richard Warren, who are not seeking reelection.
One seat is designated for a candidate from the Tuckahoe area. The Tuckahoe candidate this year is Robert Gerbereux, 70, who has been a resident of the Tuckahoe district for 45 years. Mr. Gerbereux was the director of the library for Southampton College of Long Island University for 30 years.
“I was involved in libraries for 40 years,” Mr. Gerbereux said this week of his life before retirement. “I miss it.”
Three remaining candidates, including one incumbent, will go head-to-head for the remaining two seats.
Susan Johns, 67, is a sitting member of the board. She was appointed to the position on March 18 to fill a vacancy when Peter Cheney moved out of state. Ms. Johns is a retired elementary school teacher from Westchester. She had also served as the library/media specialist for 17 years at the Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Yorktown Heights.
As a member of the library finance committee, Ms. Johns said her goal is to “continue to provide and expand all of the marvelous services our library has to offer while being fiscally responsible.”
Sean Deneny, 62, is a graduate of Fordham University and is seeking his first term on the board. Mr. Deneny, a former Southampton School Board member, is the founder of Timeless International, a television distribution firm, as well as vice president and general sales manager for Viacom and vice president and group sales manager at Storer Communications. He holds marketing positions at Xerox and Kodak.
“I am very impressed with what the library has done,” he said. “Libraries in the city, they don’t make the effort, and that is what makes Southampton so unique.”
Patricia Finocchiaro is also seeking her first term on the board. She is a real estate broker and works in retail at Chicos and FAS in Southampton Village. Past president of the Lioness Club, Ms. Finocchiaro has also served on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for 12 years.
Her main goal, she said, is to further support the programs the library has to offer.
“My biggest goal is to support the existing programs,” she said. “They are all so amazing and anything I can do to support the people that run them, I will do.”
The library has proposed a $4.3 million spending plan for next year that maintains programs at the Windmill Lane facility and stays under the New York State-mandated tax levy cap.
The budget represents an increase of approximately $94,000, or 2.2 percent, over the current year’s $4.2 million plan. Under the proposed budget—which goes to taxpayers for a vote on August 9—the tax levy would rise $82,731 from $4.16 million this year to $4.24 million next year.
The budget and trustee board vote will be held on Friday, August 9, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the library. Eligible voters must be at least 18 years old and must have been residents of either the Southampton or Tuckahoe school district for at least 30 days.