Librarians Sira Williams, left, and Elizabeth McDermott embrace after being reinstated to their jobs Wednesday night. Below, trustees Denelle Johnson, left, and Brigid McCarthy with Administrator Stanley Sickels after the meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Pulling rank on its own appointees Wednesday night, the Menna Administration rehired two of the three full-timers laid off from the public library amid warnings of a financial crisis last month.
During a tense council meeting at which officials characterized the library’s trustees as “intransigent” and “hostile” to administration guidance, borough Administrator Stanley Sickels also presented the outlines of a library budget that he said would yield surpluses this year and next, and enable the facility to restore some hours of operation, which were cut last month.
That’s in sharp contrast to the spending plan crafted by the eight-member library board, which anticipated a shortfall of $131,000 this year and dire consequences next year if the full-time staffing was not reduced.
Two clearly frosted trustees continued to insist that the administration was fixing purported errors that did not exist in the board’s budget and had failed to communicate with the board in recent weeks.
“I don’t understand the adversarial position,” library trustee Brigid McCarthy told the council during a public comment session after the vote. “This problem is much bigger than two jobs. Rehiring these two people will only kick the can down the road.”