An amendment to the parish’s pay plan to significantly increase the salary range of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library director will be introduced at the Metro Council meeting Wednesday.
A search firm that the Library Board of Control retained to help find a new library system director has recommended changing the pay scale to attract applications from more experienced individuals, said Patricia Husband, the library system’s interim co-director.
The minimum salary for library director is $72,388 and the maximum is $100,202 under the current pay plan. If the council approves, the minimum salary would be increased to $115,588 and the maximum salary would be $160,000.
The amendment will be introduced to Wednesday, and is expected to be voted on by the full Metro Council June 27.
“It’s critical,” said Stanford Bardwell, a Library Board of Control member who is involved in the search process. “If we don’t get an increase, we run a high risk of getting someone as unqualified as the last director.”
Former Director David Farrar resigned in December after information became public about a 15-year-old criminal case in Alabama in which he was accused of sexual abuse and impersonating a police officer. The trial judge threw out the jury’s conviction on the two sex abuse charges but let stand the impersonating conviction, for which Farrar received a three-year suspended sentence.
Farrar was slated to earn $89,000 in base salary for 2012, Husband said.
Bardwell said that pay is too low given the responsibilities of the library director.
“We need to hire somebody away from a $125,000 job to get somebody with what we now know the job requires,” Bardwell said.
Bardwell said naiveté had guided the search process when Farrar was hired, and that drove the board to hire the search firm Bradbury Associates/Gossage Sager Associates to aid in the recruitment of a new director.
“They know what a qualified librarian looks like,” Bardwell said.
Library Board President Kizzy Payton said in a letter to Metro Council members that the proposed pay increase for the library system’s director would bring East Baton Rouge Parish system with what other library systems of a similar size pay their directors..
“State comparisons also reveal that the current pay grade for Library Director lags well behind systems with fewer staff, smaller branch sizes, less value in real estate and inventory, and smaller operating budgets,” the letter says.
The proposed new salary range has twelve steps, according to the letter. The sixth step, $133,847, is near the midpoint of salaries of a group of out-of-state library systems that are similar in size to East Baton Rouge Parish’s, the letter says.
Three Metro Council members: Rodney “Smokie” Bourgeois, Trae Welch and Mayor Pro Tem Mike Walker all said they hadn’t seen the supporting documentation and therefore couldn’t comment on whether they intended to vote for it or not.