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Bronx firm trying to fix security issue at Flower Memorial Library


City officials are working through some problems with the Bronx-based firm hired to handle security at the Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library after its lone local employee was removed from his post last week.

City Manager Sharon A. Addison confirmed Friday that the security guard hired by Denog Protective Security Services Inc., Bronx, no longer was working at the library. In February, the company hired a security guard to work 35 hours per week at the city-owned library.

“The security guard did not work out,” Ms. Addison said. “He was unable to clearly communicate library policies and directives to patrons.”

The unidentified security guard stopped working at the library following an incident involving a misunderstanding with a patron who brought “a working dog” into the library and the guard failed to recognize the dog should be allowed inside, she said.

She blamed the situation on “a language barrier.”

Library Director Barbara J. Wheeler could not be reached for comment Friday. City Council members Teresa R. Macaluso and Stephen A. Jennings both said Friday they were unaware of the situation with the security guard.

Ms. Addison said Denog assured the city it could work through the issue and hoped to hire a replacement this week.

Last month, Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham asked for an update on how the company was handling security at the library. Ms. Wheeler told the City Council that the security guard started Feb. 19 after moving here from the Bronx, and that they were working out a language issue.

Mr. Graham and Councilwoman Roxanne M. Burns voted against hiring Denog in December, citing that it was not a local company. Ms. Burns again questioned the validity of the company and its experience in handling security. Denog was the lowest bidder.

At the time of the vote, council members were assured the company had a long background handling security in the New York City area before expanding into Watertown. They also were told the security guards would be registered with the state.

Denog hired a local manager, businessman Harry J. Cleaves. The company opened an office at 1 Edmund St., the former site of Precision Lumber. Mr. Cleaves could not be reached for comment; two local phone numbers for him were disconnected.

In recent years, library officials have talked about increasing security at the Washington Street facility after having to deal with such incidents as finding a loaded gun in a restroom, several drug deals, fights between patrons, a man selling urine from a dog for urine tests and numerous property thefts.

During this year’s budget process, the council put $43,000 in the 2013-14 budget to pay for security.

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