Posted at: 06/05/2013 11:44 PM
By: Dan Levy
ROUND LAKE - After 24 years on the job, longtime Round Lake library clerk Theresa Marchione is out of work, a firing that has created a firestorm of controversy in this small Saratoga County community, especially since the dismissal came about because of a storm.
The 19th century Victorian cottage on Wesley Avenue in Round Lake, that has served as the village's library since 1897, likely would have been no match for a powerful tornado.
When the skies darkened, and the winds howled, and the rains pelted, and a tornado warning was posted last Wednesday night, library clerk Theresa Marchione did what a lot of other people likely would have done, she shut down the branch early and headed home, and told her co-workers to do the same.
"That seemed to me to be the responsible thing to do," said Bob Sweet, a longtime Round Lake resident, who says he was so angered by the firing, he sent a letter of protest to the library board of trustees.
"It was an arbitrary and capricious act," Sweet continued. "She was dismissed because she had not contacted her superior and asked permission to do that despite the fact that she did contact her superior as soon as she got home herself and was safe."
Library Director Carol Sheffer declined comment on the matter, which seems to be a pattern throughout Round Lake.
"It's my understanding that they had an emergency meeting and they advised all of the trustees not to discuss it," Sweet says, "My next door neighbor is one of the trustees, a lovely lady, and my wife tried to talk to her about it. She said, "We've been sworn to secrecy."
Sweet thinks Theresa Marchione, who is the sister-in-law of State Senator Kathy Marchione, should sue the library for wrongful dismissal. He also insists if he were in the same situation, he'd have done the same exact thing.
"If someone were choking, you're not going to call and say, "We're having an emergency here, should we apply the Heimlich Maneuver or not?" No, in an emergency, you have to act because otherwise, emergencies become disasters."
A source requesting anonymity tells News Channel 13 that the library director told Theresa Marchione she put first responders at risk because if the library had collapsed, they'd be searching for people who weren't there.
We reached out seeking comment from Theresa Marchione but she declined.
Bob Sweet says he'll continue to recruit community members to attend next Tuesday's library board meeting so they can deliver their outrage in person.