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Letter: Misuse Of Public Property

I was interested to read Martin Dekon’s complaint about “impromptu meeting” of the Manhasset Republican Committee on September 16. I was in the Manhasset Public Library that evening when I overheard people asking at the desk for the location of the Republican meeting. One of the persons was a uniformed police officer. They were directed to go to the upstairs conference room. From Mr. Dekon’s description this was a meeting of the Manhasset Republican Committee. Apparently Donald O’Brien, a member of the library’s Board of Directors, is the chairman of this group. According to Mr. Dekon he was not permitted to participate in this meeting.

I have always understood that all events at the library are to be open to the public. When I checked the library calendar for that evening it stated that the conference room was reserved for “internal use” with a notation to “see the director.” A meeting of the Republican Committee, is obviously a private event, not open to the public.. In addition, a meeting of the Manhasset Republican Committee cannot be an “internal use” of the library. To describe it as such on the library’s calendar was an obvious subterfuge, intended to hide the true nature of the meeting. This would only be done if it was known that this was an improper use.

Mr. O’Brien, I am sure, is aware of the open access requirements of the library and surely used his position on the Board to arrange for this misuse of public property. Mr. O’Brien needs to explain this. He cannot be permitted to abuse his position on the Library Board to further his and the Republican Party’s political interests.

Madeleine Cloes