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APLA-LIST  November 2003

APLA-LIST November 2003

Subject:

Something to take to your next meeting

From:

Elizabeth Johnson <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 26 Nov 2003 08:52:00 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (120 lines)

This is a direct cut and paste from today's online Halifax
Herald.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003 Back The Halifax Herald Limited


Library board on the line
Councillor targets highly paid CEO in bid to be 'fiscally
prudent'
By Amy Pugsley Fraser / City Hall Reporter

The city's deputy mayor wants to close the book on the highly
paid chief executive officer of Halifax's library system.

In a surprise notice of motion at the end of Tuesday night's
council meeting, Steve Streatch informed council that he wants
staff to look into axing the entire library board.

"My interest is to serve the public in a way that is fiscally
prudent," by sharing administration, he said in a later
interview.

In July, a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by
this newspaper revealed that Judith Hare, CEO of the Halifax
Regional Library, draws a salary of $116,000 for overseeing
the 14 branches in the municipality.

That means she makes about $20,000 more than Mayor Peter
Kelly and $19,000 less than the municipality's top bureaucrat,
chief administrative officer George McLellan.

Without the salaries of the library board's top officials -
including the CEO and chief financial officer - the city would
have a bit more money in its coffers, Mr. Streatch said.

"There's no two ways about it, if duplication wasn't there,
then thare would be savings, obviously, from several members
that are receiving salaries now," he said.

A fellow councillor who sits on the joint
provincial/municipal library board doesn't think much of the
idea.

"I think it's a really big mistake, quite frankly," Coun.
Sheila Fougere (Connaught-Quinpool) said in an interview.

The motion would make the municipality the only region in the
province without a regional library board, Ms. Fougere said.

"That would mean that the daily minutiae of what happens at
the library would have to come before an advisory committee."


Having the board under the wing of the city might cause it to
suffer, she said.

"(The library is) able to garner an awful lot in terms of
corporate donations and bursaries and all kinds of things and
I would be really afraid that we would jeopardize the
opportunity because people are not so anxious to bequeath
money to government."

There would be no benefit to assuming the duties of the
regional library board, she said.

"Coun. Streatch believes there are some benefits to changing
the administration structure of the library and integrating
all of the staff at the library.

"It's the administration of those things that are envisioned
as potential cost savings . . . and the way to do that is to
remove the people who are on the library board at the present
time."

Mr. Streatch, who represents Eastern Shore-Musquodoboit
Valley at council, admits he has little argument with the way
the library board has been operating since its inception at
amalgamation in 1996.

"The regional library board has done a good job but I think
the same job can be done in-house with cost savings that would
allow us to possibly expand and improve the service we're
offering to the residents," he said.

He pointed out that service in rural areas has been somewhat
"marginalized."

"We see the bookmobiles in the rural areas being cut back in
favour of larger, more centralized libraries in the urban
core."

Council will debate the issue at its next meeting on Dec. 2.


The final word doesn't rest with council, though.

A formal request would have to be made to the education
minister because the library board falls under the
jurisdiction of provincial legislation.



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