By JOHN T. WARD
How’s this for a job offer? The work is unpaid. It requires running an institution that at the moment has just lost its director, faces a purported-though-disputed funding shortfall and has possibly too many full-time employees – including two whose jobs recently became a political hot potato.
Oh, and most of the people who last held the position submitted a joint “take-this-job-and-shove-it” resignation letter just last Saturday.
But just four days after that mass exodus by members of the Red Bank Public Library Board of Trustees, Mayor Pasquale Menna appointed four replacements to the board Wednesday evening. At a special meeting of the council, Menna named Beth Hanratty of South Street president of the board, which saw six of its appointed members quit en masse Saturday after the borough council rehired two of three library full-timers laid off in March over budget issues.
Last month, Hanratty quit as president of the Friends of the Red Bank Public Library, which raises about $15,000 a year for the institution through a yard sale, a book sale and other community events.
Hanratty resigned, she told redbankgreen, out of frustration with the trustees board for what she said was a lack of an operational plan once the March 12 layoffs were put into effect. “I feel if you’re going to lay off six people, you should have a plan for the next day, the next week” for maintaining library services, she said. “There should be at least some outline.”
Hanratty was also critical of the board for its failure to craft a five-year strategic plan, which she said would help both the Friends and another fundraising group, the Foundation for the Red Bank Public Library, coordinate their efforts to meet the the 76-year-old institution’s needs.
Hanratty replaces children’s author John Grandits at the helm of the trustees board. Also named Wednesday night were Marybeth Maida, Stephen Hecht and Sara Hansen, an employee in the Ocean County Library.
Only board member April Klimley did not resign last week, and she remains on the board.
Menna noted that while board secretary Pat Moss’s resignation became effective last week, she had declared her intention not to serve beyond the end of this year in a letter to him in February.
While searching for other replacements, Menna said he would participate in trustee meetings. Though he is nominally a member of the board, he had not previously attended its meetings in keeping with what he said was a mayoral tradition going back at least to the mid-1960s to leave the board to it’s own decision-making.
One of the rehired librarians, history specialist Elizabeth McDermott, was named acting director Monday, when the early retirement of her predecessor, Virginia Papandrea, became effective.