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Decision No. 14,701

Appeal of H. WILLIAM VAN ALLEN from action of the Board of Trustees of the Hurley Library Association concerning a library election.

Decision No. 14,701

(March 21, 2002)


MILLS, Commissioner.--Although the petition is unclear, it appears that petitioner challenges the outcome of a special election conducted by the trustees of the Hurley Library Association on October 23, 2001 resulting in the formation of a special library district in the Town of Hurley. The appeal must be dismissed.

Pursuant to Chapter 361 of the Laws of 2001, the trustees of the Hurley Library Association conducted a special election on October 23, 2001 to seek voter approval to create a special library district to serve the Town of Hurley, except those portions that receive library services from the West Hurley library district. According to petitioner, 204 residents voted in favor of establishing the special library district and 44 voted against it. Voters also elected library trustees and approved an initial library budget of $54,490. Prior to the election, the Hurley Library Association was a free association library serving portions of the Town of Hurley.

Although petitioner does not seek to have the election results overturned and does not set forth a clear and concise statement establishing a basis for such relief, he nevertheless requests a determination that the election was "conducted in an illegal, and unconstitutional manner""

The appeal must be dismissed because I lack subject matter jurisdiction over petitioner"s claims. The Commissioner"s appellate jurisdiction over library matters under Education Law "310 is limited to challenges concerning actions of "any trustees of any school library concerning such library, or the books therein, or the use of such books" (Education Law "310[5]) or "any district meeting in relation to the library or any other matter pertaining to the affairs of the district" (Education Law "310[6]). The special election challenged by petitioner was conducted by the trustees of the Hurley Library Association, and therefore, does not constitute a "district meeting" within the meaning of Education Law "310(6). Nor do I have appellate jurisdiction over actions of the trustees of a free association library (see, Appeal of Cole, et al., 37 Ed Dept Rep 407, Decision No. 13,891; Appeal of Iannone, et al., 32 id. 635, Decision No. 12,939; Appeal of Moore, 20 id. 27, Decision No. 10,299). Accordingly, the appeal must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

In light of this disposition, I need not address the late answer submitted by respondent nor petitioner"s reply thereto.