VALPARAISO – The Valparaiso Village Board of Trustees opted to table discussion on the pending Valparaiso Public Library audit and an ordinance regarding library board member selection, despite the library being closed since Jan. 27.
Village Board Chairman Jim Rezac received a phone call from the Nebraska Library Commission prior to the meeting informing him that the village board is unable to discuss anything related to the library.
Renae Feilmeier of Bromm, Lindahl, Freeman-Caddy & Lausterer attended the meeting as a representative of the law firm that is contracted as the village attorney. Feilmeier said she does not believe that the state library commission would have any power over the village board in this nature.
“I have no knowledge that they would have any ability to tell the village board what they can and cannot talk about,” Feilmeier said. “Certainly out of an abundance of caution you guys are welcome to table this and have a special meeting.”
Despite Village Clerk Cheryl Rieck telling The News via email that no action was taken, the board did agree to suspend the library’s operations pending an audit during an executive session at a special meeting on Jan. 27, according to the meeting minutes published in the newspaper.
A sign and padlock then appeared on the door of the library informing the public that the library is temporarily closed due to a pending audit by the Nebraska State Auditor. The pending audit was on the Feb. 9 agenda along with the library board.
Feilmeier also suggested that the board could move forward with the proposal of an ordinance that will make amendments to how library board members are selected during this meeting.
“My best advice here and that is the Nebraska Library Commission does not have authority over the village board of trustees,” Feilmeier said.
Village Board Member Mike Blazek said that this ordinance would alter the geographical standpoint of how board members are chosen by the village board.
“Currently it’s just in the city limits,” Blazek said. “If we are going to have trouble getting five members that we move it outside the city limits. You can’t be in an other community, but you can be within a 10-mile radius.”
Rezac asked Feilmeier to find out what she can about the library commission’s authority and asked the board to table the discussion of the pending audit and library board ordinance until they know more information.
At the end of the meeting, Blazek motioned to enter executive session after the board completed all agenda items. The reason for executive session appeared to be to discuss the pending audit and ordinance further with Feilmeier, despite the attorney imploring the board they needed a proper purpose to enter executive session.
Blazek said it felt like the board did have a purpose so the topic does not “get kicked down the road even further.”
“I’d like to visit with you a little bit and just would like to do it in (closed) session or whatever so it’s properly noted in the minutes or something,” Blazek said. “I don’t think it’s going to take a long time.”
According to the published minutes from the Feb. 9 meeting, the board went into closed session and did not come out with any action or agreements.