build $200,000 arches in front of the library.
But trustee chair Jim Wood -- leading the effort to make the library more
visible -- and the other trustees say the accusation is ludicrous. They
maintain the problems are simply that the board wants responsible
financial reporting and that the foundation is refusing to comply.
"It was like pulling teeth for a year just to get clear financial
reporting," said trustee Patrick Bartolic. "The foundation should be
asking donors what they want done with the money. We could care less
about controlling the foundation's money."
This latest effort to explain the puzzling dispute just adds another
perspective, leaving the community scratching its head and wondering
precisely why this is happening.
The situation culminated this month when the board demanded that the
foundation move out of its library office and leave its $1.5-million
endowment fund to the library.
The fight eventually landed in the Newport Beach City Council's lap
Tuesday. Despite insistence that it had no jurisdiction over the two
groups, the council offered the foundation a temporary office at City
Hall. And despite offers for professionally facilitated meetings,
Bartolic said the trustees had spent enough time on meetings.
"This kind of conflict when Ben Jackson was chair did not exist. It's
only occurred in the last couple of years with a shift in the chair,"
said former trustee and foundation member Frank Lynch, adding that the
council did have the power to appoint the trustees.
The relationship between the two bodies, though independent, is
symbiotic. While the foundation raises money, it's the trustees who
decide how it's spent. And while the foundation wants to keep a majority
of its savings for an endowment fund, the trustees would prefer to have
the money available for more immediate uses.
The 6-year-old foundation annually donates 2.7% of the library's budget.
However, despite the small percentage, those funds are used for some of
the library's most popular programs, which help make it one of the best
in the nation.
The issue over the arches surfaced more than a year ago, when the