At its regular monthly meeting today, the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library (B&ECPL) adopted a 2006 operating budget of $25,599,226. On November 15th, the Erie County Legislature adopted a 2006 County Budget, allocating $21.7 million in property tax for library purposes. No capital funds for new library materials were included. This amount is $7 million and 24.5% less in total County support than the Library received in 2004, reducing County funding to levels provided ten years ago.
Erie County support totals more than 85% of the Library's revenue, said Library Board Chair Rebecca L. Pordum . Obviously, we cannot absorb cuts of this magnitude without painful adjustments to Library operations throughout the County. No matter how we approach it, $21.7 million is not enough to deliver even a facsimile of the record-breaking service the Library delivered in 2004. Of the 36 libraries that will receive County funding in 2006, each must do much more with far less.
In order to seek supplemental revenue to sustain services compromised by reduced County support, the Library Board also announced the establishment of a new Development Office to be managed (on a transitional basis) by Ruth A. Collins, effective January 1, 2006. This follows previous action by the Board, recognizing the need for the Library to create development capacity within its internal operations.
A 35-year veteran of the Library System, Mrs. Collins has held various positions on the Library's administrative team since 1985 when she was appointed Human Resources Officer and, later, Assistant Deputy Director for Public Services. Her current assignment is Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer (COO), a position she has held for three years. The annual stipend for this new post is $48,000.
Citing the fact that during Collins' term as COO, the Library has applied for and received more than $1.7 million in government grants and aid as well as more than $140,000 in corporate grant awards, Chair Pordum said, We are pleased that Mrs. Collins has agreed to defer her full-time retirement plans in order to assist the Library in its development efforts.
B&ECPL Director Michael C. Mahaney explained that this office will expand the Library's ability to deliver services as it consolidates responsibility for grants coordination, corporate sponsorships and administration of a new System-wide volunteer program. In light of staffing reductions, the Library must reassess service priorities for 2006 and beyond, and this service plan will form the basis for the Library's fundraising objectives, he said. I believe that Mrs. Collins' experience, accomplishments and commitment to the organization qualify her uniquely to assist us in this endeavor.
In consideration of her most important tasks over the next 12 months, Collins said: Maximizing existing relationships with local foundations and corporate partners, developing a synergistic relationship with the Library Foundation of Buffalo and Erie County and recruiting a development professional to implement the Library's fundraising plan are my top goals.
As Collins steps down as COO, she will be succeeded by B&ECPL's current Human Resources Officer Mary Jean Jakubowski. Mrs. Jakubowski is a 14-year veteran of the Library System, with management experience in various Library departments. She received her Masters of Library Science Degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo's School of Information and Library Studies in 1991. The Board approved Jakubowski's three-year appointment, with a salary of $85,000. The Human Resources Office will remain part of Ms. Jakubowski's multiple responsibilities until a new Human Resources Officer is recruited in mid-2006.
In separate action, the Board of Trustees reappointed Library Director Michael C. Mahaney to a second three-year term. His current salary of $102,000 will remain unchanged as he begins his second term, but it is subject to Board review in mid-2006.