Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Override rumination


The Jones Library is runner up to the venerable Amherst Public Schools in the pecking order for Sacred Cows in the People's Republic of Amherst. Three years ago the Library Trustees failed to fall into line and vote to support 'The Amherst Plan' $2.5 million Override that narrowly failed.

Recently the Jones Library received an unanticipated bequeath of over $500,000 to stash with their current endowment of $7.6 million.

Yet to save a piddly $8,575 they plan to close on Friday's next Fiscal Year because it is the most visible cut they can make to promote the Override--and apparently Friday's are a popular day for patronage. "This will be an argument for the Override," Trustee Chair Patricia Holland boldly declared.

Well hey, at least she was honest.

23 comments:

Ry Willey said...

How many libraries are there in the town of Amherst? I believe six if you count the colleges. Now that's a lot of libraries Charlie for 26 square miles.

Jones being the flagship. How about we sell North Amherst and relocate the staff. Also start a once a week book delivery to the elderly and handicapped the people who would be most effected by the closing/sale?

Thoughts on this?

LarryK4 said...

Yeah Ry, every now and then the idea of closing North Amherst or Munson in South Amherst comes up.

And since we are closing an elementary school, it might be a good time to reconsider this.

Especially if their budget is so constricted that they have to cut a popular day at the flagship.

Anonymous said...

This is the part of our local government where I have the least confidence in what we've been told by those in charge.

Rich Morse

Anonymous said...

A very simple question... how much would it save to totally close the North Amherst branch? I would guess it would be a much bigger savings than cutting Fridays. There is bus service to the Jones from every corner of this town. I get it that the Munson building is used for other purposes and should stay open.
Good point about closeing a school. Add to that closing a pool, changing the DPW shifts, asking town employees to give up COLA's, etc, etc. One tiny library out of 3 is a small sacrifice.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah Mr. Morse, and those in charge are even worse when it comes to Public Safety as in threatening to cut Fire fighters three years ago hired with a Federal Grant that would have to be repaid at a far greater cost than the savings attributed to layoff.

I believe all the current threatened "cuts" to police and fire are not actual firing/laying off a warm body, but simply not refilling positions lost through attrition.

And according to yesterday's Gazette Captain Mike Kent may very well be leaving as well to become Police Chief in Burlington (And as much I sleep better knowing he's an Amherst cop, I still hope he gets the job!)

Anonymous said...

i bet other towns the size of amherst do not have 3 libraries...it would be interesting to know 2 things about the north amherst library
1 the amount of people that use and 2 of that amount how many either walk or take public transportsation there....i think it would save the town a lot of money to close that facility

Anonymous said...

from anom 4:02 again sorry not to put my name ...but ...i value my life and in proposing closing the north amherst library......

Realist said...

There's a much larger, and more pervasive, problem at work here...

I have worked for many, many years - in BOTH the public & private sectors - and what i have seen again & again within the PUBLIC sector is an attitude that "we are overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated" and it's that attitude that gets activated if/when they're asked to give up something. Most of them are public sector "lifers" who haven't experienced life in the REAL world - where EVERYTHING is negotiable and NOTHING is forever - so they develop a sense of entitlement when it comes to things like pay, benefits, raises, etc.

What everyone has to realize is that this current economic climate demands creative, outside-the-normal-box type of thinking when it comes to our Town's finances - much like a private sector, for-profit business has to do every single day just to survive! - and THAT means giving up COLA raises (are you listening DPW?)...closing down low-use buildings/programs (Marks Meadow, library branches, etc.)...cutting staff and consolidating positions...again, all the things that are part & parcel of survival in a REAL world business. You don't like it? Then stop living off my tax dollars and go try to find yourself a job in the private sector, where employees have been dealing with the "I have to do more work for less/equal pay than I was making before" and "what do you mean you're not going to provide me and my family with health insurance any more?!?" types of issues for the past many, many years.

These are tough times, no doubt, but they could be made a lot easier if folks in the public sector - who are paid well & who typically have great benefits - would realize just how fortunate they are & be willing to sacrifice just a little bit in order to spread the pain over the entire spectrum of Town/School/Library personnel & thus save jobs and programs/services in the long run. This typical public sector attitude of "I've got what i want so I'm just going to lay low & hope that nobody taps ME on the shoulder" is both unseemly and unproductive (are you listening DPW?)

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

As a public sector employee for over 19 years, it's hard for me to resent what Realist is saying because I know that he/she's simply not talking about me. I don't have the attitudes that he/she ascribes to me, so I know that he/she doesn't know what he/she's talking about.

I have felt fortunate to be a public servant, especially lately. I understand how tough some people have it in the private sector. I try to remind myself every day who is paying my salary. And I know that there are many, many people who work along side of me who have the same attitude. I have agreed with others in my office in past times of austerity to sacrifice salary in order to save the jobs of my colleagues and support staff, and I would do it again. Currently, we have taken on more work as co-workers have left and not been replaced.

So in making the generalizations he/she makes, in extending one experience he/she's had, and the conclusions drawn from it, to all of us, he/she's wrong. And, for some strange reason (since I know that there are a lot of Realists out there on the topic of public employees), I can't let it pass.

Rich Morse

Anonymous said...

so they develop a sense of entitlement when it comes to things like pay, benefits, raises, etc.


FCKN DPW "WORKERS"

Realist said...

The danger of blogs is that it's way too easy to generalize & what happens is you you can inadvertently catch the wrong fish in the same big net that's been cast. To all of those hard-working, selfless public sector employees out there, and there are certainly a lot of them: I apologize.

However, I too have worked side by side with many public sector employees and the overall "trend" that I've seen is one of losing track of where the dollars come from to pay for their wages & benefits. Times have been good for many years and that has meant that if a "need" arises, it has tended to be met - whether it be a new employee, a new computer, a COLA raise, or whatever. And when the well of resources starts to run dry, the immediate thoughts is: "we have to raise taxes/have an override to help pay for xy&z!"

Unfortunately, it appears that the term "public servant" has become more of an oxymoron than an actual truth & when I stop reading about things like $2,000/night hotel rooms for our "public servants" - as recently happened in Copenhagan during the climate change summit, for many of our congressmen & their aides - it is then that I will believe our public employees/officials have started to get back in touch with the people whom they are supposed to be serving.

Again, I apologize if I offended anyone with my prior comments but they weren't meant to offend - they were simply meant to cast one more beam of light into an area - eg how our tax dollars are TRULY spent - that has stayed dark & mysterious for far too many years.

Anonymous said...

oxymoron=moron hyperventilating=town worker

Anonymous said...

Realist?



FLUSH

Anonymous said...

"FCKN DPW "WORKERS""


United against corruption.

United against your viciousness.

Anonymous said...

cum git me, werker

Anonymous said...

To The Realist may I say that your observations and the manner in which you offer them is extremely refreshing for this blog.

Having since retired from employment in the Town Hall, the School Dept. and the University, I must concur with your views. In fact, I must admit that in some of my positions, I too was under utilized. And I did witness much of what you described.

The sad part of all this, is that many of my cohorts actually believed that they were being over worked and under paid. Especially those who had no prior experience in the "real" world.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the kind response from the Realist, and I wasn't offended. I just don't think that the Realist is seeing the whole picture, and I too have witnessed that sense of entitlement that he/she is referencing. But it's not everybody.

And let's be honest about the private sector: there's plenty of flab to go around there, too. Anyone who has gotten lousy service at a business knows this. Now sometimes such indifference or just plain rudeness exacts its own punishment, but sometimes it doesn't. And the customer has to live with it, or travel great distances.

Let's also remember another feature of at least part of the private sector: the endless tax deductions that are taken for entertaining, involving restaurants, sports tickets, etc. Major league sports franchises would go belly-up without the constant abuse of the deductability of tickets for business purposes, which is essentially the abuse of an enormously expensive system of federal subsidies to the so-called private sector. It's a rip-off that's rarely discussed.

So I get a little tired of the puffery about the relative merits of the private sector. Like the public sector, the fat is tucked right in the interstices between muscle and bone, difficult to root out.

Rich Morse

Anonymous said...

They chose Friday because the patrons tend to be high school students who like to have sex in the basement,

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't closing the branches really encourage an override. They are pretty popular, especially among the seniors - you know the people that vote.

P.S. Larry why was AAC closed this morning?

LarryK4 said...

Maybe. But the Jones is the flagship with the best location. Although one afternoon is a far cry from complete closure of one or both branches.

PS: (front door lock sticks on occasion, so you have to pull hard)

Anonymous said...

"...pretty popular,
especially among the seniors,...."

I dunno, I'm 68 and find libraries an item of the past. And I vote!

Maybe keep the Jones, but the branches? Didn't the automobile invention make them useless?

Anonymous said...
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