Your recent article entitled “Library draft budget stays below tax cap” mentioned numerous cuts in library spending that the library board, the library’s business manager and Ralene Adler suggested in the wake of a supposed deficit in expected revenue.
Nowhere in this article, in previous articles in your paper (or the Great Neck Record), or in postings on the “Library Watchdog” blog site, has anyone discussed the significant savings that the library has already realized by cutting back on services to the public, through scaling back in all areas of the library, instituting a hiring freeze, cutting back on staffing in other ways, and not filling numerous vacant positions with all of their salary and benefit costs) including now that of the Library Director/Library Consultant.
By conservative estimates, these savings amount to over $400,000. Where is this $400,000+ reflected in the budget? No one is asking this question.
I believe that, as it has done in the past, the library board is folding these savings into the general fund, to be used to defer expenses expected from the proposed upcoming Main Building project. Their plan is to use this money however they can so that they can present a modestly smaller bond proposal to the public for approval.
There may or may not be anything wrong with this approach, but if this is what the board is doing, they should come out and say it, and not blame regular library expenses for public services and staffing for a deficit that doesn’t really exist – one that they have actually created.
Critics of previous library boards, including some on the board today, have long complained that the board conducts business in secrecy and does not reveal some of the true intentions behind its public statements and actions. Yet the critics go silent when the board behaves the exact same way, just because the behavior and actions are approved of by these critics. They can’t have it both ways.
The public deserves to know what is really going on at the library and on the library board, whether it runs contrary to what the board says to the public or supports it, whether it backs up what the critics say or negates it.
I hope you will look into all of this. I am not the only person who has brought this issue up recently. In fact, I first heard of it from others.