Magazine article American Libraries

Surplus Replaces Debt at Ann Arbor PL. (News Fronts)

Magazine article American Libraries

Surplus Replaces Debt at Ann Arbor PL. (News Fronts)

Article excerpt

A new audit shows that the Ann Arbor (Mich.) District Library, which was $1 million in debt last year (AL, Apr. 2000, p. 22-23), now has a budget surplus of $3.3 million.

Associate Director of Community Relations Tim Grimes attributed the surplus to tight financial controls. "We've cut way back on our spending," he said, noting that expenditures were lower than projected in 16 categories. Additionally, he told American Libraries, the library levied 1.95 mill of a 2-mill tax increase approved by voters, but Grimes said most of that would go toward building new facilities to replace the library's three existing branches.

Grimes blamed much of the library's deficit on mismanagement by ex-finance director Don Dely, who pleaded no contest in September 2000 to three charges of embezzling more than $123,000 from the library (AL, Nov. 2000, p. 18).

Meanwhile, the four-year impasse continues over a contract with the union that represents about 50 library staff members, including some 20 librarians. Union president Debbie Gallagher told AL that when the talks went into arbitration with a state mediator in July, 36 issues were outstanding; she said in early November that as many as 30 remained to be resolved, mostly "bread and butter" ones concerning working conditions and benefits. Staff have gone without cost-of-living adjustments since 1996.

The library's union representative, Michael Whitehead, told AL that the foremost issues were salary and compensation (as well as related ones such as leave and retirement). …

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