Through a combination of legal, economic and political reasoning the city’s library system, and its employees will shortly be controlledand entirely funded by the mayor’s office and will be subject to theyear to year budget discretion necessary to keep the doors open for all the Library’s many thousands of users.
The mayor’s legal department has already assured members of the Library’s Board of Trustees that everything about the city’s two public libraries will remain the same – that is – the hours of operation, thefunding, and the staffing.
In addition, the library system’s staffing requirements will nowfall under the domain of the Human Resources Department, and themayor’s office.
As the mayor tends never to act unless there is a direct benefit to sustaining himself as mayor, it is expected his influence will largely determine who will be hired and who will be fired in the years to comeunder the new changes.
Nothing about the management of the Library concerns him as much as this.
The Library’s Board of Trustees will remain in tact, for now, but the Board’s powers will be vastly curtailed, in fact, ended as they are today, under the changes in the language made to the city’s administrative code to accommodate the new system of managing and maintaining the public library system.
The city’s Treasurer will become the Library’s treasurer.
The Board of Trustees will run the Parlin Trust left by the founder of the Library by Frederick Parlin.
The mayor has said he isn’t trying to diminish the Board’s importance. Obviously, the exact opposite of what the mayor is suggesting is true. The Library’s budget last year was $1.2 million.
The mayor said the change is required so issues can be resolved with employees to the benefit of the city’s taxpayers.
The city is much better situated to handle Human Resources issues, according to the mayor’s chief of staff, Kenneth O’Donnell.
We recently reported that at least one new member of the Library workforce was, in fact, hired on the mayor’s recommendation.
The only difficulty, she’s a convicted felon with no background in
How, we wonder, is the city’s Human Resources Department handling that issue or whether or not it is an issue at all in an administration already dealing with serious Human Resources allegations at the city’s mismanaged Wellness Center?
What concerns us is that no one in a position of responsibility, primaryamong them the mayor, and every member of his staff, have said aword about shepherding the institution through a period when dramatic changes are taking place in library systems throughout the nation.
Perhaps the mayor and his chief administrators should assuage the fears of the present membership of the Library’s Board, who know what they are talking about, that the mayor has no idea what it takes to successfully manage the city’s library system.
Maybe something should be said about his vision for the Library in the years to come – if he has one.
This play to control the Library is consistent with the mayor’s power grabbing persona.
It will also make the libraries more expensive centers of information and learning to run.
We don’t challenge the mayor’s right to seek the takeover and the political manipulation of the city’s library system.
What we wonder about is that no one about to take over the running of the library system among the mayor’s braintrust at city hall has said a word about how the library needs to the meet the challenge of the future in the Internet Age or what exactly that future is.
We believe that common sense argues for such a declaration, especially by the mayor, who has said he cares nothing about libraries.