Library Budget

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Re: Library Budget

Postby Fitzie » Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:09 pm

Jeannine,

What, do you think the hard economic times have been limited to MMK? If you had any idea what I've been through the last 18 months you'd feel awful silly right now. I just elect to recognize the reality behind the fact that none of my issues were caused or will be cured by.....the number of librarians in Nashua. Get it now?

You guys just don't like being called on your tactic of ascribing fault for a multi-faceted situation to a single issue on your agenda. I'm not going poof.....you're too much fun. I'm even considering buying 10 square feet of Muriel's DWHY land so I can come to the public hearings.
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Re: Library Budget

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:28 pm

I will no longer reply to you. Your postings are intended to provoke others into arguments.

A waste of my time and the time of others who post here.
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Re: Library Budget

Postby andysinnh » Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:31 pm

Every year, we see both the town and school budgets proposed, and typically the cost rises each year due to various factors. This year the largest impacts are in terms of healthcare and retirement cots. It's the same for every town in the state. And year after year, we go through this process of looking at places to cut, and invariably get into the level of discussion we see here - pick a department where part of the voting public sees reduced value, and propose it gets cut. Problem is - it's always a knee-jerk reactionary process, and many times cuts get made without actually KNOWING the impact of those cuts. Cutting simple things like a carpet replacement or a building entrance upgrade are easy things to delay. But making dramatic funding changes that impact staffing of any department are risky without doing a full investigation of how the particular department should be run.

I've sent a message to the TC members just now asking them to, in the case of the library, rethink the dramatic cuts that are being proposed, and instead consider a less dramatic incremental cut (if they must do so) and to create a commitee or task force or something and look closely at the running of the library to see just what the rquirements and/or options are. Everyone here is upset at the level of staffing - including the number of master degrees - but does anyone know whether that's out of line or not? Has a full study been done and presented and embraced by the TC that shows that the library could effectively be run with a different model? I don't believe so, and if you're gonna say cut big chunks of money, you really need to know what you'll get in the end.

I'm a firm believer that if you're going to look at reducing costs - don't do it as a knee-jerk reaction at budget time - but rather figure out whether a change is needed and how the change should be implemented - and fund that change in the next budget cycle. Otherwise, you're not sure what you'll get as an end-product...

andy
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Re: Library Budget

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:39 pm

andy

I looked at Londonderry's library budget and staffing for last year. They spent $1.2 million and had 18 employees. It didn't state their education levels.

I plan to look at several other town when I have a few minutes.
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Re: Library Budget

Postby andysinnh » Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:50 pm

Jeannine Stergios wrote:andy

I looked at Londonderry's library budget and staffing for last year. They spent $1.2 million and had 18 employees. It didn't state their education levels.

I plan to look at several other town when I have a few minutes.

Jeannine- it's great to look at things like this - but my point was that the TC should formally assign a group that does this sort of thing, and have that group work with the current library staff and other library staffs, to come up with a workable proposal for Merrimack, and have accountability back to the TC to do a formal recommendation - which would result in a budget level for the following cycle. Having folks do 1-off research is good - but it won't be easily accepted without the formalization of the process..

andy
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Re: Library Budget

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:56 pm

andy

Do you have any idea how long a process that would be? It would take months and countless meetings. All you need is someone to go on a factfinding mission, talk to the people in other towns to see how they've arrived at their numbers and see if there is anything we can learn from talking to them. Why do you need a group to do this?
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Re: Library Budget

Postby andysinnh » Thu Jan 20, 2011 3:24 pm

Jeannine Stergios wrote:andy

Do you have any idea how long a process that would be? It would take months and countless meetings. All you need is someone to go on a factfinding mission, talk to the people in other towns to see how they've arrived at their numbers and see if there is anything we can learn from talking to them. Why do you need a group to do this?

Jeannine- nothing personal, because I certainly think any research you'd do would be accurate. But if you're talking about a $1M+ budget - and dramatically changing the way we spend money to run that business - I think we need something formally driven to come up with the new model that would show that a different way to run the "business" would provide the result taxpayers want. It would take time, and there would be meetings - but making a $xxx,xxx budget adjustment without the full pro/con analysis would be something I'd not support. I wish it were as simple as you describe, but things are always more complex than they appear on the surface.

andy
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Re: Library Budget

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Thu Jan 20, 2011 3:40 pm

In the business world we do things differently. It's pretty cut and dry out here whenever we discuss finances. We don't form committees to see how much cost cutting we will do. It's primarily based on economics.

Departments are told how much money they have to work with and need to make do with the available funds. I think that's what wrong with the government way of doing things. The cart pulls the horse rather than the other way around.

They tell you how much they need rather than you telling them how much they will get.
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Re: Library Budget

Postby RD » Thu Jan 20, 2011 3:45 pm

Businesses exist solely to make a profit. Goverment exists to provide public services. Huge difference. Can't compare the two.
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Re: Library Budget

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Thu Jan 20, 2011 4:01 pm

RD

You are 100% wrong about business. Many of us are in business to provide a service we believe in while also making a living. Why are you working for the government? To make money. So knock off the hyporcrisy.

It's obvious that government isn't working for the people at this point. Something has to change.
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Re: Library Budget

Postby andysinnh » Thu Jan 20, 2011 4:15 pm

Jeannine Stergios wrote:In the business world we do things differently. It's pretty cut and dry out here whenever we discuss finances. We don't form committees to see how much cost cutting we will do. It's primarily based on economics.

Departments are told how much money they have to work with and need to make do with the available funds. I think that's what wrong with the government way of doing things. The cart pulls the horse rather than the other way around.

They tell you how much they need rather than you telling them how much they will get.

Jeannine - that's because in business, you have people that understand running the business controlling the purse strings - and they make budget decisions with the knowledge of the cause/effect of the resultant business deliverable. Yes, it's revenue/profit driven, but you don't have someone like me telling you what to spend, because I don't know nearly as much about your business as you do.

Some folks don't believe that those running the library business are running it efficiently (number of staff, experience of staff, level of funding reuqired to run, etc). As such, if someone wants to institute change to that business in a publicly-funded environment, you need a group made up of taxpayers, elected officials, and members of the business (library) management, look at the business and determine whether there are different operating models. Having the publicly-funded entity offer reduced funding without the supporting information on what the business deliverable would be is dangerous - sort of like me saying to you to run your business with $x, and you know that even with reorg and efficencies it'd cost $x+y. It's all about knowledge of the business and understanding the deliverables.

andy
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Re: Library Budget

Postby Dennis King » Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:26 pm

RD wrote:
Dennis King wrote:

Oh and the schools, I would love to privatize them! Oh yeah, big savings there and better quality. This is coming from a graduate of Catholic school which costs at least half the cost of public schools. Of course we would have to rethink the after school programs but a merger with the MYA would work great here (oh that law, can't replace paid people with volunteers who do it for free). But if you do away with the school entirely, well it is a fresh slate. Our town is like a computer, time to reboot.

I think the idea of doing away with Merrimack's schools is up there with his suggestion that the town of Merrimack do away with the U.S. Department of Education! Good stuff!


Actually I recall a study done in the 70's that documented that for every education dollar we send to Washington, we get 30 cents back. Seventy percent of the money we spend to educate our kids goes to Washington hacks who determine the winners and losers and the local grant writers who beg for the money back. I am sure the same holds true for today if not worse. If we had school vouchers and the choice of private schools, things would be much better. I wonder what we now pay to run the kindergarten classes, anyone know the per pupil cost? Now compare that to what we all paid to send our kids to private schools before the school system found a way to destroy them. Whenever I pass the building that used to be Jimmy Cricket, I lament the take over. It is not only the cost difference but the attitude, I remember the battle I had to fight for months just to be able to be worthy to talk to Cathy Custer but the year before, they called me and invited me to have tea and scones while talking to the teacher and the principal at the same time. Funny when you pay direct for a service, people work to earn your respect, when they have jobs for life and can vote their own raises, a very different story!
There was a time in America when the local community built a school house and interviewed the teacher directly. If they did not like her progress, she was fired and a replacement was found. We must return some common sense, people see only what they know and not what is possible. Sadly, so many just want to maintain the status quo that new possibilities just are not even thought of.
This country is better than that and we can achieve great things if we embrace new ideas rather than holding on to the past.
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Re: Library Budget

Postby chancellor » Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:44 pm

Andy, you must be an engineer. Indeed it is important to look at issues carefully, but to form committees and exploratory groups only further burdens an already bloated system. This country was founded by men who had the balls to stand for something, to make decisions that had consequences (some positive, some negative). If a budget needs to be cut, and the library is on the block... then the library needs to do its best to work within that budget. What is so hard about that?

Then, if everything goes to hell in a hand basket as a result of the library cuts, as shown by precise quantitative measures, then the budget could be reinstated. If there is no downside, then hooray for the cuts. My tax burden eased.

This issue has been blown out of proportion.

When would a decision to cut the budget be made?
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Re: Library Budget

Postby andysinnh » Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:41 pm

chancellor wrote:Andy, you must be an engineer. Indeed it is important to look at issues carefully, but to form committees and exploratory groups only further burdens an already bloated system. This country was founded by men who had the balls to stand for something, to make decisions that had consequences (some positive, some negative). If a budget needs to be cut, and the library is on the block... then the library needs to do its best to work within that budget. What is so hard about that?

Then, if everything goes to hell in a hand basket as a result of the library cuts, as shown by precise quantitative measures, then the budget could be reinstated. If there is no downside, then hooray for the cuts. My tax burden eased.

This issue has been blown out of proportion.

When would a decision to cut the budget be made?

I have over 30 years of business experience in forming effective groups, running them tight, and reaching closure quickly. The challenge is that you have to have the right folks in the decision tree, not people who don't know the business. Period. I think sometimes the ready-shoot-aim mentality, while sometimes effective, can also have dramatic impacts to the negative if done too dramatically without thought. Was I trained as an engineer? A very long time ago. But I've not been an engineer for 20 years, an can certainly get the job done, without making a decision that says "we'll rethink the change if everything goes to hell in a handbasket". That, my friend, is the worst decision of all. Trying to bring things back after having been cut is perhaps the worst approach of all...
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Re: Library Budget

Postby nis » Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:40 pm

So now the library is a dynasty? How about town hall, police department, fire department, dynasties too?
And, of course, who needs people with degrees and training, let's just get a bunch of volunteers to run everything and get it over with. I am sure people who never set foot in the library would have a bunch of ideas on how to get things done. Oh, wait, since we don't need degrees, the heck with schools too. That would save a bunch of money.

Also, it is pretty funny how some people are so concerned with Merrimack citizens who are loosing their homes, yet they want to help them by taking away jobs from other Merrimack citizens.
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