The WFL Budget Vote

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The WFL Budget Vote

OtBB has spent much of the past week exam­ining some little known policies and practices of Westhampton Free Library, and concludes that the proposed budget on which taxpayers are voting today1, should be defeated.

The foremost reason is that Library District voters are being denied so much meaningful information on which to base their decision at the polls.

Take for example Director Matthew Bollerman's employment contract discussed earlier.

It's one that could guarantee the director's compensation beyond the fiscal year and into future budgets. It also includes a sever­ance package beyond the two weeks' salary norm.

(Keep in mind that we don't even know Mr. Bollerman's compensation for the current fiscal year.)

Board President Michael Lennon's justification of Human Resource-related costs of the 4.6% budget increase for FY'12 says only that it is "largely" to cover increases in health insurance premiums and additional hours for clerical staff... and emphasizes that the increase is for clerical, not professional, staff hours.

Also on Page 1 of the proposed FY'12 budget is Mr. Lennon's statement regarding the increase for service contracts for equipment whose war­ranties expire in the coming year.

We're not talkin' the sprinkler system, here.

It's the soup-to-nuts, 24/7 IT system service contract, separate from the still-undisclosed, non-competitive bid-procured contract for the IT infrastructure billed to the bond cash.

(WFL Trustees awarded both to Total Computer Group in the same vote2 in April 2010.)

That's the renewal of a five-figure contract without any indication of effort to research competitive pricing for the new fiscal year.

Further, there is no indication as to why a library of WFL's size needs full-time IT man­agement staff in addition to the TCG contract. Either should render the other redundant.

It's the Director's job to run WFL with some attention to cost effectiveness.

It's the same consideration that should be given the still-undisclosed costs of the building project: a LEED certification means very little without taxpayers being given some sense of the actual investment along with an estimation of the timeframe in which those cost-saving3 technologies will have paid for themselves.

Where's that information?

Vote "no" on WFL 's budget... the worst that will happen is that they will have to cope with the current year's budget allocation.

WFL will have to find some savings and do some trimming... as do we all.

  1. At the High School Large Group Instruc­tion room behind the Auditorium from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm.
  2. On which Trustee Hank Tucker, for as yet undisclosed reasons, abstained.
  3. In utilities: fuel and electricity.


1. Nutbeem said...

As a Library District taxpayer, I can tell you only as much as you already know about this budget. But as a LEED certified professional, I can tell you that the payoff for investment in LEED for new construction could theoretically be zero over the life of the building.

This is because LEED is a system of points - some of which are qualitative, and not an absolute energy rating.

It is therefore very possible to get a LEED certification for a building that scores highly in areas that don't produce energy savings. Those areas are just as worthy and important to our broader environment, but unless the LEED documents themselves are disclosed, it's very hard indeed to predict or quantify any savings in the energy use of the building itself. Energy is only a component of LEED - not the whole picture.

Of course, based on your posts about the budget, I'm not holding my breath for a LEED disclosure any time soon....

There is, however, an agency which can force disclosure.

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