Somerset County Library Commission: Bring Back Larry!
This petition is being re-opened in an attempt to stop the Somerset County Library Commission from manipulating and lying to their employees and the taxpayers.
On June 6, we declared a victory for Larry. We believed he was being reinstated to his position as Head of Circulation at the Warren branch of the Somerset County Library Commission.
Larry was not contacted until July 9th when he was told that not only was he NOT returning to the Warren branch but that they created a special position just for him!
Sounds great right? Well, Larry was told he would now be the "System Volunteer Coordinator". Wait, wasn't he FIRED for mismanaging the volunteers? Now you are putting him in charge of recruiting and training them? Furthermore, he was put in a branch 40 minutes away from Warren.
Larry did not immediately take the job but was given the choice, take it or your are out of a job. So he did..
Larry still has no clear idea as to what he is to be doing because they haven't yet given him a job description! For the meantime, he is setting up chairs, helping other people do their jobs....not working with the public he loved so much.
Larry was also told by system director Brian Auger, through an email, that his actions were "unacceptable and inexcusable". Those actions, if you remember, were following his directors orders, which were handed down by Brian's right hand man, Keith McCoy.
On top of that, the Somerset County Library System and its administation is being investigated for alcohol violations.....more on that later!
Larry Sapienza served as Circulation Director at the Warren Township Library in New Jersey (a branch of the Somerset County Library system) for more than 20 years. Larry has worked hard for our community and is beloved by library patrons and volunteers alike.
But a few weeks ago, Larry became the scapegoat for a bad decision by the library's leaders.
Larry was abruptly fired last month after carrying out orders from his boss, Warren Library’s Director Elaine Whiting, that banned volunteers from certain duties in the libraries.
The decision to take tasks (like working in the back room, sorting books) away from volunteers was handed down to Ms. Whiting from W. Keith McCoy, the Assistant Director of the Somerset County Library. While Larry expressed concern about the decision, he was instructed to follow through with it and Ms. Whiting promptly left town for vacation.
Volunteers were understandably upset with the sudden change in their duties, and a public backlash followed. With Ms. Whiting out of town, Larry stood in the crossfire. But when she returned, Ms. Whiting claimed she was not aware of the new policy and blamed it on Larry.
Armed with proof (e.g. email exchanges between Elaine and Larry) that the administration made the decision, Larry met with Library Director Brian Auger who told him things would work out and that Larry should meet with him Tuesday, April 10. Instead of working it out, he told Larry he was terminated.
We need to show the county that we do not just fire people who are standing up for their morals. Larry is being made a scapegoat by the leadership who made this decision and his firing is unjust. Please join me in calling on the Somerset County Library Commission to re-hire Larry.
I am writing to request that the Somerset County Library System re-hire longtime employee Larry Sapienza.
On April 10th, Larry was "asked to resign" after he followed his library director's orders to remove the volunteers from one task and instead put them in charge of cleaning shelves and shelf reading.
The orders allegedly came directly from W. Keith McCoy, Assistant Director of the Somerset County Library to Warren Library Director Elaine Whiting. Together, they planned to implement a "new policy" that would immediately remove volunteers from their positions.
Ms. Whiting alerted Larry that he would be carrying out this task, as the circulation supervisor. Larry expressed concern for his long time volunteers and questioned the policy. Once again, he was told that it was an administrative decision.
Following the orders of his immediate supervisor (you can get fired if you don't!), Larry implemented the policy. As the volunteers rightfully protested, the director went on vacation. Larry and his loyal staff stood in the crossfire. Numerous concerned calls went to the Somerset County Administration but they just told the staff that the decision had been made.
The director returned and claimed she knew nothing about Larry putting through this policy. She denied having authorized it and denied that Keith McCoy said it was his decision. Larry was left to fight back alone.
Armed with proof that the administration made the decision, Larry met with Library Director Brian Auger who told him things would work out and that Larry should meet with him Tuesday, April 10. Instead of working it out, he told Larry he was terminated. They then abruptly closed the library to the public, refusing to talk to the Friends of the Library and the Library Board.
I’m deeply concerned about what I have learned about this situation. I believe Larry was unjustly terminated. Larry is a great asset to the community and has our full support. I call on the Somerset County Library Commission to right this wrong and re-hire Larry immediately.
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