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updated: 5/18/2011 11:35 PM

Carol Stream library board won't rescind pay hikes, hires

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  • Michael Wade

    Michael Wade

  • David DeRango

    David DeRango

  • Dominick Jeffrey

    Dominick Jeffrey


Following the election of two anti-tax trustees to the Carol Stream library board in April -- but before they were seated in May -- the board approved a request to make three new hires and award merit increases to existing staff.

At the time, the lone vote against the measure, Trustee Michael Wade, hinted that the new board would reconsider the issue.

But even after new Trustees David DeRango and Dominick Jeffrey had been seated Wednesday, Wade still didn't have enough votes. The board voted 4-3 against measures to rescind the new hires and pay increases.

Library Director Ann Kennedy has said the new hires were needed to reflect an increase in library activity. She said the number of reference questions has increased 35 percent over the past year, while library staff has been drawn away from handling other duties.

Wade cited statistics from a Library Administrators Conference of Northern Illinois survey that showed libraries with just as many employees had circulation numbers higher than that of Carol Stream.

He said governmental bodies on the federal, state and local levels have looked at what their members want, instead of what is needed.

"There has to be a time when people will draw a limit and say, 'No more spending. We have to make cuts,'" Wade said.

DeRango suggested employees in the youth services department, for example, be cross trained to handle reference questions in the adult services department. Through his work in the retail industry, DeRango said he's dealt with lean budgets and a "skeleton crew" that have had to learn other skills.

Trustee Tom Arends, who voted with Wade against Kennedy's recommended budget in March and who would be a crucial swing vote, said the arguments against new hires and raises that had been made before were being revisited Wednesday with "no real new facts."

"I don't see anything compelling where I could challenge the professional decisions being made on these additional hires," Arends said.

He did, however, say that Wade's arguments did have relevancy for future hires.

Trustee James Bailey said overturning the actions of the last board would "discredit" and "undermine" the integrity of those trustees.

"We're not here to micromanage library staff," Bailey said. "We have a professional management staff doing a good job."

Before trustees voted, Board President Robert Douglas read a statement issued by the library's five department heads, who questioned how they would be able to tell staff that salary increases just received would be rescinded.

So far, one of the approved hires has been made -- a part-time page in the circulation services department. Kennedy said an offer would be made this week to an applicant for a part-time clerk position, and the interview process would begin for a full-time librarian in the adult services department.