By Stephen J. Kotz
It’s not going to be as hotly contested as, say, the battle to be the Republican nominee for president, but three candidates for the John Jermain Memorial Library Board of Trustees will get a chance to introduce themselves at the library’s annual budget meeting and trustee forum on Wednesday, September 16. The event takes place at the library’s temporary home at 34 West Water Street at 5:15 p.m.
Joining incumbent Craig Rhodes in seeking three-year terms on the library board will be newcomers Amy Rhodes, who is not related to Mr. Rhodes, and Susan Edwards. All are unopposed.
The library is proposing a $2,535,097 budget, which represents a spending increase of about 5 percent and is expected to cost the average taxpayer about $12 per year.
Voting takes place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on September 24 at the library on Water Street.
Mr. Rhodes, who grew up on Main Street just two doors south of the library, is an architect, who worked on projects including the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame museum in Cleveland and has since moved his practice back to his hometown. He is seeking his second term, after previously serving a single term.
“As an architect, I realize it is a very complicated and long process to build a building,” he said of the library’s renovation project that has been plagued by delays but is now expected to be completed this winter. “I’m really looking forward to the opening and the reaction of the public,” he said. “I think they are really going to like it.”
Ms. Rhodes, who happens to be Mr. Rhodes’ neighbor on Howard Street, just a stone’s throw from the library, has enjoyed a long career in the publishing industry.
She currently splits her time between Sag Harbor and New York, where she is a partner in the consulting firm Market Partners International, which works with trade publishers in executive searches and strategic planning.
Ms. Rhodes described herself as a voracious reader and a library regular, who visits the Jermain on a weekly basis.
“I wouldn’t presume to have goals or an agenda. I’m going to take my lead from what I learn,” she said. “I’m interested in doing this because it is an incredible part of Sag Harbor and I want to give my time and energy to something I value.”
Ms. Edwards, a resident of North Haven, is also seeking her first term on the board. Ms. Edwards his roots in Sag Harbor—her father grew up here, his mother was local kindergarten teacher and she spent summers here.
She works with her husband, Ian Ziskin, in a business consulting firm. She serves on the North Haven Village Board of Architectural Review and Historic Preservation, is the chairwoman of the scholarship committee of the Horticultural Alliance of the Hamptons, and a volunteer with the Peconic Land Trust at Bridge Gardens as well as Bay Street Theater.
Ms. Edwards said she expected there to be a “pretty steep learning curve” once she is elected to the library board but added she was “very excited about the prospect of working with [library director] Cathy Creedon and the other staff to see this library through now that it is almost done.”
The library budget contains a $106,000 increase for staff salaries as it seeks to replace history and program librarians, Ms. Creedon said this week, as well as a $42,000 increase for employee benefits and payroll taxes and a $31,000 increase for administrative and office expenses.
The Hampton Library will hold its own budget vote and trustee election on September 26. The proposed budget is $1,635,700, an increase of $83,675 over last year, with payroll and benefits accounting for all of that increase. Harvey Loomis, a library trustee from Sagaponack, is running unopposed for another term.
There will be a budget hearing at the library at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 16. Voting takes place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on September 26.