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Fired Pound Ridge Library Director Sues To Get Job Back

Former Pound Ridge Library Director Marilyn Tinter, pictured during her disciplinary hearing. Tinter was fired by the library board in September and filed a lawsuit in December that seeks her reinstatement. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Pound Ridge Library Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. -- Former Pound Ridge Library Director Marilyn Tinter, who was fired in September, has filed a lawsuit against the library district to get reinstated.

The lawsuit, which was filed on Dec. 13 with the state Supreme Court in White Plains, blasts the district's disciplinary hearing that was held prior to Tinter's firing.

The hearing was presided over by Steven Kasarda during the spring and fall. Tinter was brought up on several disciplinary charges, with 40 "specifications" under each charge category.

Kasarda sided with the library district on 38 of the specifications, the lawsuit states, and the library's board voted to terminate Tinter in late September.

Tinter, who worked at the Pound Ridge Library for roughly 40 years, was suspended from her job in December 2015. Among the accusations were that she inflated the library's circulation count of materials, which she denied.

In essence, the lawsuit argues that Tinter was the victim of a biased process against her that was pushed for by the board.

"In purporting to terminate Ms. Tinter's employment, the Board was motivated by bias and prejudice against Ms. Tinter and acted in bad faith, not as an impartial decision maker," the lawsuit states. "The Board thereby deprived Ms. Tinter of the due process to which she was entitled."

The lawsuit, which argues that the board acted as a rubber stamp for Kasarda's recommendations, claims that the Sept. 26 vote to fire Tinter was not valid due to lack of a voting quorum. The board only had five members, with just three voting in favor of Tinter's termination, while two trustees recused themselves.

The board has nine seats, although two were vacant at the time.

The litigation also contends that Kasarda did not run an impartial hearing. For example, it accuses him of ignoring "uncontroverted testimony and documentary evidence establishing Ms. Tinter's innocence of the charges against her."

The vote to fire Tinter came a day prior to an election that saw five seats change over, which included the ouster of then-President Erin Trostle.

The winners were parts of a "slate of five" who wanted a negotiated end to Tinter's disciplinary process, The Record-Review reported prior to the elections.

Doing so now appears to be easier said than done.

In a public report issued in late October, Miriam Schindel, who was among the newcomers and was picked as president by her colleagues earlier that month, wrote that the board could not unilaterally reinstate Tinter. Doing so, she explained, requires approval from the Westchester County Department of Human Resources (WCDHR).

A reinstatement appeal to the department's commissioner has to be made for reinstatement, according to Schindel, who based her information on what she learned from the department's assistant commissioner.

Schindel did not reply to a request for comment.

In October, submitted documents for the lawsuit show, Tinter's attorney submitted a notice of claim to the library. This notice constitutes an announcement of future intent to sue.

The library was left with a short staff count, Schindel noted in her report. This included the departure of the library's interim director shortly after the election.

The library's website currently lists four staffers, none of whom are listed as performing the duties of director.

Tinter's full court submission, which includes the petition and exhibits, comes in at 128 pages and can be read here. The exhibits include a list of the disciplinary charges, Kasarda's interim and final reports, and a copy of Schindel's report.

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