After Protests, Fired Library Employee Reinstated
Larry Sapienza's status changed to unpaid suspension to July 31.
A split Somerset County Library Commission approved a resolution that will return fired circulation supervisor Larry Sapienza to Warren Township Library, but not until the end of July.
The decision came on a 4-2 vote that followed a 90-minute executive session by the commission, as a standing-room only crowd in the Warren Municipal Complex waited for the decision. Commissioner Albert Ellis and Chairman Art Carlson voted against the resolution.
Before heading into the closed session, the commissioners heard from more than 20 supporters of Sapienza's reinstatement, in a steady stream of testimonials from friends, family and co-workers. The crowd drew residents from across Somerset County, and included a representative of Democratic Congressional hopeful Upendra Chivukula.
Afterward, Sapienza said he felt relief in the decision.
"And actually a little relieved that I have a little time before I get back to work," he said. "I think it was an equitable decision. I think they worked hard to come up with a creative and equitable solution that was fair."
The resolution specified that the commission did not find Library System Director Brian Auger "did not act arbitrarily or unequitably" in firing, but said the punishment was "more severe than necessary."
Upon confirmation of the resolution's passage, the crowd erupted in applause. Well-wishers crowded around Sapienza, as the commission attempted to continue its meeting.