Thursday, February 19, 2009

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures...

And the times must be desperate indeed in Passaic, New Jersey. Your scribe can hardly believe the following wire story:

Library director hired for half-year
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Herald News

PASSAIC — After going nearly one year without a permanent library director, the library board of trustees hired the former director of the Greenwich, Conn., library to take the helm — on a trial basis.

The board passed a resolution Tuesday night to hire Mario Gonzalez, who has also worked for public library systems in Houston and New York City, for a six-month trial.

Board President Walter Porto said the board will meet again in July to decide if it will offer Gonzalez a contract.

"Or, we tell him, 'Thank you for visiting,' " Porto said Wednesday.

Gonzalez will receive a starting salary of $76,126, Porto said, but may receive a $5,000 salary increase after six months.

Passaic has been without a permanent library director since last March, when former director Alan Bobowski stepped down to take another job. Kathleen Mollica, who has been serving as interim director, decided not to stay, Porto said.

"We need to replace [Mollica], or we lose state aid," Porto said. "That's basically the bottom line. If I don't have a director, I jeopardize $72,000 that I cannot afford to lose."

At Tuesday night's meeting, Gonzalez presented the library board with a list of more than 30 goals he said he planned to accomplish in the next six months. The goals ranged from enhancing access to library collections through technology to implementing a schedule of "on-call" staff to fill in for absent staff members.

He also said that his overarching goal for the library system would be "creating an atmosphere of mutual trust and integrity."

Gonzalez comes to Passaic after retiring as director of the Greenwich Public Library last May, a position he held for nine years.

Although a March 2008 report in Greenwich Time, a local newspaper, said that a survey of Greenwich Library employees revealed that some employees disagreed with Gonzalez's managerial techniques, Porto said he was not concerned with the incoming director's style.

"I did call the library to find out exactly what was going on," Porto said. "It boiled down to nothing. It was … a group of people that were not in agreement with (Gonzalez) being there."

Well, at least they got Mario on the cheap. It sounds to your scribe as though the net cost to Passaic for the next six months will be all of $4,126, which is about all that Mario is worth, in his humble opinion. Less than $700 a month. Call it about $30 per day, net net. Hell, that's less than a day's worth of fines at the Greenwich Library.

Well, dear reader, it seems you can fool some of the people some of the time. Not too many people here in Greenwich would say that Mario fostered "an atmosphere of mutual trust and integrity." Just the opposite, in fact. Which is why the board of trustees finally showed him the door. And, of course, they still haven't released the secret study of employee morale that led to Mario's downfall....

Well, maybe people in Passaic are different. Or maybe Mario has somehow transformed himself into Super Mario in the past few months. But your scribe remains skeptical.

(With a tip of the hat to Brian Harrod at Greenwich Roundup)


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