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2013-08-15 / Front Page

Library board vacancy approved, airs trust issue

Joint city township meeting to be held
BY PAULA BARBEE
810-452-2647 • pbarbee@mihomepaper.com


The Grand Blanc McFarlen Library is at the center of a dispute over how the $329,000 left to the library by the late Margarent Claffey is to be spent. Shown here is the children’s section of the library. 
Photo from the GDL website The Grand Blanc McFarlen Library is at the center of a dispute over how the $329,000 left to the library by the late Margarent Claffey is to be spent. Shown here is the children’s section of the library. Photo from the GDL website GRAND BLANC TWP. — A simple matter of two vacancies on the board of the Genesee District Library (GDL) turned into a discussion of a legal issue involving the trust of Margaret L. Claffey, who, in March 2012, left more than $329,000 to the McFarlen Library, a branch of the GDL.

According to township officials who spoke during the Aug. 8 board meeting, the issue resides in the fact all GDL branches, except the headquarters, are owned by the local municipality, in this case, McFarlen is jointly held by Grand Blanc city and township.

The money is currently being held in trust and there are lawyers negotiating the exact terms of the distribution of the funds. Although the GDL formed a special committee to help determine the best use of the funds, there is question over whether the money can be used for physical improvements to the building itself, as it is not owned by the GDL.

As the trust was stated, the money is to be donated to the McFarlen Library, but in legal terms, that entity only exists as the contents of the building itself. There were some concerns by township officials that the money had been allocated to the GDL General Fund which would enable it to be used across the district, but according to Linda Ryals- Massey, who was the outgoing board member, this is not the case.

Ryals-Massey, a current appointee of the board whose term was expiring, was up for re-election with two contenders, former Township Clerk Cathy Lane, who was one of the founding members of the GDL board, and local resident Beverly Wallace. Lane and Ryals-Massey were chosen to fill the two vacant positions.

“Any monies that come in as a gift are restricted,” Ryals-Massey said. “All those dollars are currently sitting in an account waiting for agreement between the township, the city and the GDL.” She stated emphatically that the funds will stay with the McFarlen library."

Also as Ryals-Massey recommended, and was already set up to occur, there will be a joint City-Township meeting to be held Aug. 28 at the Grand Blanc Senior Center at 7 p.m. According to Township Supervisor, Micki Hoffman, the library trust will be one of the main agenda items, among others.

Township Attorney David Lattie listened to the various discussions and advised the board that with legal negotiations pending, there is really no way to say what will happen, as the final disposition of the trust could include a combination of uses, known and unknown, and until those negotiations are final, it is just conjecture.

In other township business, the board approved a $758,031.01 bid from Zito Construction for replacement of the Baldwin/Gainey pump station and the Holly Road Sewer improvement project. Also approved were a Emergency Action Policy, software agreement, delegates to the MERS Retirement annual meeting and the pension committee, a $882,212.90 bond for the Braemoor subdivision paving project, new vehicles for the police department and other items. The board will not meet again in August due to the Labor Day holiday except for the special joint City-Township meeting to be held Aug. 28 at the Grand Blanc Senior Center at 7 p.m.

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