Following months of steady turnover, seats on the Riverhead Free Library Board of Trustees were filled during an election last Tuesday.
Newcomer John Rienzo was elected to a three-year term during the May 19 vote. Additionally, recent appointees Susan Bergmann and Michael D’Arcangelo, were elected to new three-year terms.
Ms. Bergmann and Mr. D’Arcangelo became board members April 24 following the resignations of former board president Kathy Berezny and trustee Karen Fedun-White.
“We’re very excited about moving along for the library as a united, transparent board,” said new board president Louise Wilkinson.
Turmoil began in March 2016 when former library director Joy Rankin abruptly resigned her position. The Board of Trustees then appointed Kathy Richter as interim director, but she resigned after just three months.
Ms. Richter was replaced by current library director Kerrie McMullen-Smith.
Ms. Berezny said her resignation was not related to any issues with fellow board members.
“I had some health concerns and that was what my resignation was about, health issues,” Ms. Berezny said. “My doctor advised me to step down.”
Only about a week before that departure, treasurer Milagros Rios resigned with three months left on her term.
Four trustees had previously left the board around the time of Ms. Rankin’s resignation last year.
Given the events of the past year, the board decided to hold a ballot vote for the first time. Residents were asked to vote for three of the four candidates in the running. Donna Elmore, an elementary school teacher in the Riverhead School District, finished fourth in voting.
In previous elections, candidates names were written “on a slate” and community members raised their hands to signify who they were voting for, Ms. Wilkinson said.
“It gives the community more input than in the past,” she said of the ballot vote. “It worked out well and we want to continue it in the future.”
About 50 residents voted in the election, Ms. Wilkinson said.