Outside company to investigate Guilderland Library toxic environment allegations

Outside company to investigate Guilderland Library toxic environment allegations


GUILDERLAND, N.Y. (NEWS10) — After a Special Board Meeting on Monday, the Guilderland Public Library says an outside company will investigate toxic workplace allegations. Café con Mel owners Melanie Diaz Partak and Joy Mercado Anderson announced that the cafe has closed indefinitely due to a toxic work environment.

A meeting was held on Monday where residents were solicited regarding the recent allegations of a toxic work environment within the library and its patrons. The library has decided to investigate the accusations promptly and will do so by hiring an outside investigator.

“Thank you to those who were present and took the time to comment. This was the first step in a continuing process, which advanced again via a Special Board Meeting on February 28, 2024. In consideration of the strong sentiments expressed and wide-ranging questions asked at our public comment meeting, the Library intends to investigate these accusations promptly and fairly, so that we can provide transparency.”

“Concerning the investigation, we find it responsible to select and hire an outside firm or consultant. While a specific outside investigator has not yet been selected, the Library approved this initial step at the February 28 special board meeting via resolution and will now commence the search.”

“As we take the next steps in this matter, we would like to address some of the concerns brought forth by members of the public. At our public comment meeting, questions were raised as to why this vendor was selected, the rent that was charged, and the selection process utilized. We would like to remind our community that the Board, its Director, and employees have been very transparent throughout the process used in selecting the café vendor. If you have questions surrounding the letting of this contract, we ask that you review our webpage, found at www.guilderlandlibrary.org, for meeting minutes, available documents (including the lease agreement), and for other information related to public board meetings at which the café, the selection of a vendor, and the contract was discussed. You can also review recordings of meetings of the Board on our YouTube channel.”

“As always, we appreciate the community’s patience as we navigate this matter and ask that conclusions not be drawn until all facts are known. While we await further information, the Library shall continue its regularly scheduled programming and services. Thank you.”

On Wednesday, Partak said, “I have faced racism, harassment, and constant disrespect. These issues have not only come from patrons, which I am no stranger to dealing with, but they have come worse surprisingly from the library staff members.”

Partak continued, “My heart goes out to the very few staff members that supported us. I love you and I appreciate you immensely. Please know that the actions of your peers are separate in our minds, but the toxic work environment is unacceptable.”

“As a female, minority-owned small business, it is our responsibility to show our community and aspiring young people that women in business are respected, supported, and welcome,” said Partak. “Our company will rise to the occasion; you’ll recognize us when we return! This isn’t goodbye. We definitely will see you later.”


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