Union agrees to furloughs to keep Clallam library system afloat

PORT ANGELES — The union that represents employees of the North Olympic Library System agreed to take two, one-week furloughs in 2010 to reduce the need for layoffs, director Paula Barnes told the Library Board on Thursday night.

What that would mean is the entire library system would be closed down for two, one-week periods.

The Library Board has not yet voted on the measure and still has the option to balance the budget by reducing staff.

The board is expected to vote on the budget Nov. 19.

Change of hours

Laying off staff would mean a change in library operating hours at all four branch libraries — in Port Angeles, Sequim, Forks and Clallam Bay — but specific plans for the options have not been organized.

Although layoffs would still be necessary even with the unpaid furloughs, which are expected to save about $70,000, fewer would be necessary.

One audience member asked at Thursday’s Library Board meeting if the furloughs could be scattered so that the whole system isn’t shut down.

“The problem is that the savings we garner really comes from our ability to shut down completely,” Barnes said.

The budget for the library system in 2009 was $3,082,813 and the proposed budget for 2010 is $3,139,102.

That budget is about $176,000 under what the library currently expects to need for the year.

Barnes said that would mean laying off about four full-time positions across the library system.

“We’ve already cut hours at the Port Angeles, Clallam Bay and Forks branches,” Barnes said.

“In 1999 we had 38 employees — this year we have 21. Our budget to buy new materials was $350,000 in 1999, and this year it is $317,754.”

Regardless of which decision is reached, the board agreed that it would be a temporary measure.

Property tax measure

Barnes said a property tax levy lid lift would be considered in 2010 to help restore services to the system.

The reduction in the proposed materials budget — money used to buy new books — represents a 15 percent reduction since 1999.

From 2009 to 2010, it will mean a 3.8 percent decrease in materials.

“Really this is even more,” Barnes said.

“Because the cost of books has increased more than the inflation rate, reductions in the materials budget is even worse.”

Board member Jim Roberts said the budget cuts in materials would have a real impact.

“That is a real problem — I mean that is what we do here,” he said.

Board member Elaine Frederickson said she agreed.

“That is a real contradiction to our purpose,” she said.

__________

Reporter Paige Dickerson can be reached at 360-417-3535 or at paige.dickerson@peninsuladaily news.com.

More in News

Port of Port Townsend focusing on five capital improvement projects

Stormwater improvement in permitting phase; construction may begin this year

Clallam County Sheriff Brian King, right, carries a ceremonial torch with Special Olympian William Sirguy, center, accompanied by his mother, Katie Sirguy, during Friday’s Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run along the Waterfront Trail in Port Angeles. The event, designed to raise awareness and funds for the Special Olympics movement, brought together law enforcement officers from Clallam, Jefferson and Kitsap counties for a march across the North Olympic Peninsula. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Torch run

Clallam County Sheriff Brian King, right, carries a ceremonial torch with Special… Continue reading

Groups back natural gas initiative

Signature-gathering efforts end July 5

Pictured left to right, Ginny Wagner, Xxzavyon (XJ) Square, Ewan Mordecai-Smith, Elise Sirguy, Mahayla Amendolare and Mallory Hartman cut the ribbon of the little free library at Jefferson Elementary School on Friday. (Darlene Cook)
Students come together to promote reading literacy

Free library constructed near Jefferson Elementary

An Orca spy hops for a better look at its surroundings during an encounter on Wednesday in the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Sequim. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Spy hopping

An orca spy hops for a better look at its surroundings during… Continue reading

OMC CEO lobbies on Medicare efforts

Hospital converting travelers to staff

Port Angeles’ Pride on the Pier event set for Sunday

Music, vendors to be featured during three-hour event

Children can receive free lunches on weekdays throughout the summer at multiple locations across Sequim and Port Angeles. Carrie Blake Community Park in Sequim is one of 14 locations between the two cities offering meals through late August. (Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula)
Free summer meal program for children to begin in Sequim, Port Angeles

Free meals for children 18 and younger will be available Monday though… Continue reading

Pedestrian hospitalized after she was hit in construction zone

A pedestrian was injured and transported to a hospital after… Continue reading

Paving work to begin Monday in Sequim

Work crews from Lakeside Industries, PR Systems and Stripe Rite… Continue reading

Port Townsend Summer Band to play ‘Wild West’ show Sunday

The Port Townsend Summer Band will present “Wild West!”… Continue reading