Apr 13, 2010

Managers to escape the knife in public library cuts

Admin counts for only one of 25 FTEs to go in first round of City budget rollbacks

VANCOUVER— With Vancouver Public Library management first to drop the axe this morning in the City of Vancouver’s 2010 budget cuts, CUPE 391 president Alex Youngberg is wondering why administration is suffering barely a scratch in all the bloodletting.

“From what we were told, these cuts were supposed to be across the board,” said Youngberg, on learning that 24 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions were being eliminated.

“If only one of these is a manager, that’s a pretty bad ratio. We need more direct public services to accommodate our growing, diverse population—not more policy makers. If the VPL wants real savings, they should look at eliminating five managerial positions. That would lower the loss to direct public services to about eight positions rather than the 24 they’re targeting.”

This morning, the VPL released its 2010 budget recommendations to the library board. Among them, the VPL is calling for the closure of the Riley Park Branch and reduced operating hours at up to 14 branches. Central Library public services staffing budgets would be cut by $419,000. Another recommendation would see the VPL slash the Technical Services budget by $360,000 and the Collections budget by $180,000.

There are 32 management positions and three pending exempt positions at the VPL, an increase of 17 over the past two years. All of these positions are administrative and none provides public service.

“There is one manager for every 10 full-time members,” said Youngberg. “Why are they cutting hours and public services but keeping the policy wonks? These positions didn’t have job descriptions when they were filled, so there wasn’t an expressed requirement for them. But the people in them instantly became the library management team.”

“These are drastic cuts to public services when people need these services most.”

COPE 491