Dozen in Race to Lead Growing Library System; Applicants to Be the Next Director Come from in Town, out of State; Board Plans to Hire by End of Year

By Palka, Mary Kelli | The Florida Times Union, October 11, 2004 | Go to article overview

Dozen in Race to Lead Growing Library System; Applicants to Be the Next Director Come from in Town, out of State; Board Plans to Hire by End of Year


Palka, Mary Kelli, The Florida Times Union


Byline: MARY KELLI PALKA, The Times-Union

Almost 30 people applied to replace former Jacksonville Public Libraries Director Ken Sivulich, including the system's interim director and a couple of librarians from other states who were forced out of their previous jobs.

The Jacksonville Library Board of Trustees plans to have a new director in place by the end of the year.

Gossage Sager Associates LLC received 28 applications and forwarded the names of 13 qualified librarians to the board for consideration. One of those 13 told the Times-Union he was withdrawing his application to stay in Toledo, Ohio.

Qualified applicants must have a master's degree in library science from an American Library Association-accredited program and at least five years of library-related experience.

The advertisement for the position said the salary would be six figures and competitive. Sivulich made $116,500, which is the current cap on the salary range for the position.

That salary could rise to between $120,000 and $135,000, said Dan Bradbury, vice president of Gossage Sager.

Board Chairman Steve Rosenbloom said he hopes it stays below $150,000, but he also hopes the administration is agreeable to a higher salary for a quality director.

The new director will have to oversee a $32 million budget and about 430 librarians and administrators. The new person will also lead a growing system, including a new main library, six new branches and 12 renovated or expanded branches.

"We're going to have one of the largest library systems in the country, with six new branches," Rosenbloom said. "I hope we don't skimp on getting a new captain."

The old captain, Sivulich, left in February after he said he was forced to resign. Rosenbloom was critical of Sivulich's relationship with Mayor John Peyton's office, which recommends the board's budget to the City Council, and of Sivulich's fund-raising abilities. Rosenbloom said a new director should have a vision for the direction of the system, get along politically with changing administrations and city councils, and contribute to the system's fund-raising efforts.

Interest in the job came from qualified librarians around the country. Barbara A.B. Gubbin, the director of Houston's libraries for almost a decade, applied, as did John F. Szabo, the head of Clearwater's library system.

And Jacksonville native Carolyn Shehee Williams, the current interim director, sent in her resume.

Some of the applicants had rocky times at their old jobs. For instance, Ed Szynaka was fired last year from his job as chief executive of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library after a strained relationship with library board members, according to an article by the American Library Association.

Szynaka told the Times-Union that board members weren't happy when he refused to grant unethical requests, such as hiring family and personal friends.

Last week, a state audit raised questions about the Indianapolis library's spending between 1999 and 2003, including what the audit referred to as $27,433 Szynaka made in inappropriate credit card charges, according to an article in The Indianapolis Star. The paper said he reimbursed at least $3,657, but has denied responsibility for about $22,000 in charges.

Szynaka told the Times-Union he was following library board policy when he used board credit cards, so the issue is between the state and the library board. …

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