Statement before the †††††† Glenn A. Walsh

Allegheny County ††††††††††† P.O. Box 1041

Library Association:††††††††† Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.

††† Pennsylvania †††††††††††††† Telephone: 412-561-7876

††† Sunshine Act ††††††††††††† Electronic Mail: < gaw@andrewcarnegie.cc >

††† Compliance††††††††††††††††† Internet Site: < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >

2008 September 15

 

Good evening. I am Glenn A. Walsh of 633 Royce Avenue, Mt. Lebanon. Today I am speaking as a private citizen representing no organization.

 

In June, the ACLA Legal Counsel addressed the comments in my May 19 statement regarding the Allegheny County Library Associationís failure to comply with the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act and Right-to-Know Law. It is a legal counselís duty, in court or elsewhere, to maintain an organizationís options, through whatever legal technicalities the legal counsel can devise.

 

This does not, at all, free ACLA from their true responsibilities under State law. The Allegheny County Library Association began as an association of members with no legal responsibilities as a public agency or even as a public library. It was simply an association of public libraries, with each of its members having legal responsibilities as a public library, but the organization having no such legal responsibilities.

 

This all changed when the Allegheny County Library Association freely sought, and was awarded, designation as a Federated Library System by Commonwealth Libraries, Pennsylvania Department of Education. Not only did ACLA now attain a State -designated legal status, they also assumed library responsibilities; as a Federated Library System, ACLA is considered equivalent to a public library. And, ACLA receives State funding specifically for their library responsibilities.

 

Title 22, Section 141.21, No. 2, Item i, Line C of the Pennsylvania Code states: ďThe library shall be an integral part of general local government.Ē This means that all libraries which accept State funding are considered agents of the local unit of government and must, therefore, comply with all State statutes that apply to local units of government, including the Sunshine Act and the Right-to-Know Law. This has long been acknowledged by Commonwealth Libraries and is stated in their Trustees Manual issued to library trustees throughout the State.

 

Further, now ACLA is actually operating two public libraries: Robinson Township and Sto-Rox. Now there can be no doubt, even in your legal counselís interpretation, that ACLA is indeed a public library and must accept the legal responsibilities of a public library.

 

So, once again, I am asking the Board of Directors of the Allegheny County Library Association to accept their legal responsibilities under Title 22, Section 141.21 of the Pennsylvania Code, which requires that all State -funded public libraries comply with the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act and the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law, among other relevant State statutes.

 

gaw