Selectmen shoot down library position

HUDSON – In hopes of attracting more candidates, the library wants to turn a part-time adult services position into a full-time one.

Right now, the position is about 30 hours a week and does not include any benefits. The lack of medical insurance and other benefits has hurt efforts to fill the position, library trustees said. The position has been vacant since June.

The trustees had proposed a warrant article to make the position full time and raise an additional $25,711 to cover the cost of the extra 10 hours a week and for benefits.

The Board of Selectmen voted Tuesday night to not send the article to the warrant, with some selectmen questioning if other positions can be changed or _merged to create a full-time position.

The trustees may want to consider some restructuring to make a full-time position more palatable to voters, Selectman William Cole said.

“I think you have to prioritize,” Cole said, noting that $25,000 is “a lot of money.”

Selectman Ann Seabury supported the article, noting there has been turnover at the library.

“It’s like a revolving door over there,” she said. “I think the voters deserve an opportunity to vote on this.”

The trustees could try to get a petitioned warrant article on the ballot, a move that would require the signatures of 25 confirmed registered voters.

The group has not discussed its options yet, trustee John Knowles said.

“We don’t know what we’re going to do yet,” Knowles said of the selectmen’s negative vote.

The adult services/young adult librarian’s responsibilities include overseeing adult programs such as a book group, programs for young adults, the bookmobile and acquiring new books and other materials.

“It’s a full-time library position,” he said. “This is the person who tells everyone else what to do.”

The wage for the position is $14.75 per hour and currently pays $23,010 a year.

The library is seeking someone with experience working in a library and who has a master’s degree or is working toward it.

The library has had trouble attracting candidates, and some applicants have accepted other jobs. According to materials given to the selectmen, the last person left the staff position after four months for a full-time job with benefits.

“People you do want, don’t want to come because they can get full-time positions with benefits somewhere else,” Knowles said.

The bulk of the proposed increase is the benefits for the position. According to materials provided by the trustees, the health benefits would equal about $13,649 a year.

Health insurance could be lower if the person hired for the position is single, Knowles noted.

While the position has been vacant other staff members are picking up some of the duties, Knowles said.

“Other staff members are doing other people’s jobs,” he said, adding: “Holes are being created elsewhere.”

The selectmen did approve sending a warrant article to ballot asking voters to give library employees a 3 percent pay raise. That amount, which includes benefits, totals $15,889.