Back Off Mayor, Derby Library Directors Say
by Eugene Driscoll | Aug 1, 2012 5:47 pm
Posted to: Derby
Members of the public library’s board of directors said Mayor Anthony Staffieri is forcing them to create a full-time custodian’s position they neither need, want, nor can afford.
Two members of the Derby Public Library’s Board of Directors — Dorothy Gleason and Charles M. Stankye, Jr. — aired their concerns publicly at the July 26 Board of Aldermen meeting.
Stankye said Derby City Hall is undermining the authority and responsibilities of the Derby library’s board of directors by trying to force them to switch library custodian Joe Bomba from part-time to full-time.
Bomba is a former Derby Alderman and the former chairman of the Derby Town Republican Committee. Staffieri is also a Republican.
Bomba was hired as a part-time custodian while he was a member of the Board of Aldermen last year. He received a waiver from the Board of Aldermen on Feb. 1, 2011 allowing him to take the job. Click here to download minutes from that meeting.
Gleason and the library directors said the mayor is overstepping his authority by requiring the position to become full-time when the library wants it to be part-time.
“This all comes down to, Who runs the library? There are bylaws, there is a board of directors, there is state statute saying we are an autonomous board, similar to the board of education,” Gleason said in a telephone interview with the Valley Indy July 27.
“So now we’re questioning — why now? Why with this position? We’ve had other positions in here and we were allowed to hire,” she said.
However, representatives of the mayor’s office said the city is simply trying to get the library to comply with City Hall labor agreements with employees.
Click the play button on the video at the top to see a portion of Stankye’s comments. Do the same on the second video to hear portions of a statement Gleason made to the Board of Aldermen last week.
The Derby Public Library, in the budget approved May 30 by the Derby tax board, requested and received funding to hire a second, part-time custodian.
The library supervisors did not want a single, full-time position because it would force them to spend more money.
In addition, library officials said a single position doesn’t give them the flexibility they need to cover long days at the library. A full-time position would result in overtime costs, library officials said.
But Then . . .
However, after the budget was adopted, Phil Robertson, the mayor’s chief administrative assistant, contacted the library. He explained that the custodian’s position is a union position and is tied to the City Hall workers’ union contract.
Bomba, as per his right as a union member, had applied for and was the most qualified for the new job, according to an e-mail from Roberston.
Instead of hiring Bomba for two part-time positions, which would presumably make the position full-time, Robertson offered a solution:
“The Mayor has suggested you make Joe full-time. We will pick up the cost of the health insurance,” Robertson wrote. “The Mayor also believes it is a legitimate item to take before the tax board for additional funding.”
Robertson suggested the library ask the Derby tax board for an additional $7,408.80 to make Bomba full-time.
The e-mail from Robertson is posted below. Article continues after the document.
Gleason, the president of the Derby Public Library Board of Directors, said the library has no problem with Bomba as an employee. He does a good job, she said.
Who’s The Boss?
The issue is the mayor ordering the library how to hire — particularly when following his order will force taxpayers to spend more money, Gleason said in an interview with the Valley Indy July 27.
The board of directors maintain the decision on hiring is the library’s responsibility, as dictated by the City Charter and state statutes.
“We received an e-mail from Mr. Robertson saying Mr. Bomba would start his new hours. We had no say in the matter,” Gleason said. “Yes, he was the only one who applied for the job from the union, but we had a number of people who had called the library inquiring about the part-time position.”
Portions of e-mail correspondence between Derby City Hall and Derby Public Library are posted below. Article continues after the document.
Furthermore, the library directors pointed out none of the labor concerns were brought to the surface during budget deliberations, of which Robertson and Staffieri were involved.
In a letter read into the record at the July 26 Aldermen meeting, Gleason said the advertisement for the job was posted as part-time, not full-time.
“If it had been posted as a full time position, there is a high probability that other union members would have applied,” she wrote.
The complete letter from Gleason to the Aldermen is posted below. Article continues after the document.
In an interview with the Valley Indy July 27, Robertson said the mayor is simply trying to follow the parameters set by the union, of which Bomba is a member. A copy of the contract is posted at the bottom of the article.
Robertson said the mayor’s office is trying to avoid a union grievance, which he said the city will lose.
The library board of directors also state they are trying to avoid a union grievance.
The next step could be a meeting between members of the Board of Aldermen, the mayor and the library directors to discuss the situation. It was suggested by Derby Board of Aldermen President Ron Sill on July 26.
“The mayor certainly intends to sit down with the members of the library board and interested members of the Board of Aldermen,” Robertson said July 27, the day after the Aldermen’s meeting. “There were statements made last night which represent about 3 percent of the truth. There needs to be a meeting where the full truth is discussed and for all the people at the meeting to pursue a satisfactory result for everyone involved,” Robertson said.
Staffieri and Derby Corporation Counsel Joseph Coppola did not respond to an e-mail sent July 27 seeking comment.