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Library positions could be saved

City lawmakers also faulted some library employees for its fiscal woes

The Plattsburgh Public Library, faced with a $150,000 shortfall, cut four positions despite public outcry.

The Plattsburgh Public Library, faced with a $150,000 shortfall, cut four positions despite public outcry. Photo by Stephen Bartlett.

— Common Council member Timothy Carpenter is in talks that could save four Plattsburgh Public Library positions slated for elimination due to a hefty deficit.

At a Dec. 15 meeting of the Plattsburgh Common Council, some lawmakers blasted members of the union that represents library employees for its criticism of the Plattsburgh Public Library Board of Directors. They said a generous contract, abuse of sick time and weak management are to blame for the deficit.

The lawmakers say they have been biting their tongue but will not stand by while a public demanding answers is provided with false or misleading information.

“You have a core of library employees who don't cooperate and are selfish and don't care about the hard-working people there,” said Mayor Donald Kasprzak.

Faced with a $150,000 deficit, the Plattsburgh Public library's Board of Directors voted Dec. 5 to eliminate four positions.

There has been much public outcry since then from library supporters, including suggestions from employees that they say would save the four positions. Those suggestions include several cuts elsewhere and asking the city of Plattsburgh for more money, though members of the library's Board of Directors have said the plan does not seem feasible.

Common Council member and Library Liaison Timothy Carpenter said at the Common Council meeting that it might be possible to save the four positions. He didn't reveal details of the plan but said it has to move forward quickly.

Details will likely be revealed at the next Board of Directors meeting.

Library supporters, especially local leaders of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents library workers, have publicly criticized the Board of Directors, charging they may be responsible for the deficit and saying they’ve refused to work with them to save the four positions.

Some city lawmakers took issue with these criticisms Thursday night and said they had to speak out.

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