Tag: Birmingham Public Library
The future remains uncertain for the Birmingham Public Library and its 230 employees, thanks to city budget cuts necessitated by COVID-19.
And there have been no clear answers from Mayor Randall Woodfin regarding just how much money the library system will receive from the city, which will determine how many branches will have to close and how many employees have to be furloughed.
Or rather, as members of the BPL Board of Trustees remarked during a library board meeting Tuesday afternoon, there have been several clear answers from Woodfin, all of them dramatically different.
Earlier this month, employees of several city-owned entities — including the Birmingham Public Library and the Birmingham Parks and Recreation Board, among others — received letters from Mayor Randall Woodfin’s office informing them that they would be furloughed.
Now, they’re being told to ignore that furlough letter — but another one might be coming.
“The letter is now moot,” said Cedric Sparks, Woodfin’s chief of staff, during a teleconference with Birmingham employees on Friday, responding to a question specifically focused on library employees. “The letter that you have received, please disregard that letter. Your next letter will come directly from the library board.”
However, the mayor’s office also announced that it had raised funding for libraries and parks in a revised budget proposal. Read more.
Are Birmingham Public Library employees being furloughed? It depends on whom you’re asking.
Most BPL employees have received letters from the city of Birmingham telling them they will be placed on unpaid leave starting Sept. 12.
“You should not report to work after this date until such time further notice is given that normal operations can resume,” reads the letter, signed by Mayor Randall Woodfin and city Human Resources Director Jill Madajczyk and dated Aug. 18.
Multiple BPL employees have confirmed that almost all of the BPL’s 230 staffers have received a furlough letter.
However, in a letter dated two days later, library board of trustees President Eunice Johnson Rogers told employees to disregard the furlough letter and continue going to work because the decision about furloughs is up to the board. She also told the Birmingham City Council Tuesday that no decision has been made to furlough employees. “To date, the BPL Board of Trustees has not closed any branches or furloughed any employees,” she said. Read more.
Mayor Randall Woodfin defended some controversial cuts in his proposed FY 2021 budget Tuesday, arguing that, despite a significant drop in city funding, both Birmingham City Schools and the Birmingham-Jefferson Transit Authority would continue to operate as usual. Much of the money they lost will be made up by funds from elsewhere.
Many other groups, including the library system, zoo and Railroad Park, are facing much bigger consequences. Read more.
For the first time in more than eight months, the Birmingham Public Library has a full board of trustees. The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to appoint Lynn Flowers-Martin and Mona Lisa Morris to fill two vacant seats on the board.
Several major changes are headed to Birmingham in 2019, although some will be more apparent than others. They range from the bureaucratic – such as new members on the Birmingham City Council, ongoing personnel shake-ups at the Birmingham Public Library and calls for a comprehensive public safety plan – to the physical – including a major interstate closure and construction of a new open-air stadium at the BJCC.
Read about what the year ahead looks like for the Magic City.
More What to Watch in 2019
Economic development is likely to be a primary focus for Jefferson County and the County Commission during 2019. The county hit a mother lode, or at least the offshoot of one, during 2018 with Amazon and DC Blox announcing they are establishing operations in Bessemer and North Titusville, respectively. Look for Jefferson County to continue prospecting for more golden nuggets in 2019. Read more.
Environmental issues have made headlines throughout 2018, and 2019 promises to be no different.
Decisions will be made that affect the cleanliness of the state’s waters, air and land. Issues that will affect recycling, coal mining and solar, nuclear and hydropower generation also are looming on the horizon. Here are a few of the issues to watch in 2019.
A gasoline tax increase to fund road improvements is expected to be a major topic of the 2019 Alabama legislative session. Legislators also are expecting several hundred million more dollars to spend in the education budget and will be debating raises, a child literacy program and other education improvements. Other issues include funding improvements in prisons and a possible lottery proposal. Read more.
Birmingham Public Library Deputy Director Sandra Lee bid an emotional farewell to the library’s board of trustees Tuesday afternoon, praising the BPL’s “passionate” staff and emphasizing the important role that libraries play in communities. Read more.
For the past year, the Birmingham Public Library has been embroiled in a controversy surrounding Executive Director Floyd Council. But at Tuesday’s meeting, the library’s board of trustees shifted its focus to replacing two other key staff members, including Council’s second-in-command.
Deputy Director Sandra Vick Lee has announced that she will retire Dec. 7, while Tobin Cataldo, the library’s coordinator of collection management, is leaving his position Nov. 16 to head up the Jefferson County Library Cooperative.
The questions of how to fill those positions while permanent replacements are sought, and who has the authority to appoint those replacements, led to a muddled, sometimes tense board meeting Tuesday night
Amid calls from employees to fire Executive Director Floyd Council, the Birmingham Public Library’s board of trustees voted instead to submit a “corrective action plan” to the embattled administrator. Board members refused to give any details about what that plan would entail, classifying it as a private personnel matter.
The board also voted to approve its first-year evaluation of the executive director — the details of which were also not disclosed — with a recommendation “to develop a specific performance improvement plan.”
In short, Council — who was not present at the meeting and who has refused to discuss the situation with the press — will keep his job for now. His one-year probationary period, during which the board can fire him without cause, will end before the board’s next regular meeting, on Nov. 13. Read more.
Amid a controversy about Executive Director Floyd Council, the Birmingham Public Library’s board of trustees has called a special meeting for Monday at 4:30 p.m.
The subject of the meeting has not been officially confirmed, but this year has seen a series of special called meetings to discuss Council’s performance. He started the job in November and his one-year probationary period is slated to end before the board’s next regular meeting, on Nov. 13.
In an Oct. 9 meeting of the board, about 20 Birmingham Public Library employees said they had experienced a “hostile” work environment during Council’s first year in office. Through a spokeswoman, Monica King-Slater, they told the board that they had been “berated and treated like children in front of other employees and patrons.”
Council described the employees at the meeting as “extreme outliers” who were unrepresentative of the BPL’s 287-person staff. “Sometimes people will develop a coalition because what they want is a scandal,” he said.