Five drop out of consideration for EBR library directorship
Of the 33 applicants vying to become the next director of East Baton Rouge Parish’s library system, five have withdrawn and another is considering withdrawing, according to the firm hired to recruit a new director.
Two withdrew after the Metro Council rejected a proposal on Wednesday that would have raised the salary scale of the position by more than 50 percent, said Dan Bradbury, the managing partner of Bradbury Associates/Gossage Sager Associates.
Three withdrew before the vote, but the salary debate may have played a role in their decision, Bradbury said.
A sixth is considering pulling his name from consideration because of the vote, Bradbury said.
Bradbury began winnowing the 28 remaining applications over the weekend, he said.
The new director will be hired with a salary between $72,388 and $100,202. Former Director David Farrar, who resigned late last year, was paid about $89,000.
If the Metro Council had approved the proposed increase, the salary range would have become $115,000 to $160,000.
Despite the defeat, Bradbury and library officials agreed there was no reason to extend the process.
“Sooner or later you have to play the hand you are dealt — and that seems to me to be where things are,” Bradbury wrote in an email.
Bradbury expressed confidence that his firm would still be able to put forward five-to-seven qualified “semifinalist” candidates for the board to interview.
“The pool simply won’t be quite as strong as it might have been if the others hadn’t dropped out,” he wrote.
Three of the candidates who withdrew are directors of library systems smaller than the East Baton Rouge Parish system. The smallest of the three is about half the size of the East Baton Rouge Parish system, Bradbury said.
Mary Stein, who along with Patricia Husband has been acting as co-director since Farrar left, said she hopes to have the semifinalists’ names from the search firm by the middle of the week. Initial Skype interviews are scheduled Saturday, she said, with on-site interviews of the three finalists Aug. 17.
The Skype interviews will be at the main library on Goodwood Boulevard and will be open to the public, she said.
Stein said she understood why some applicants may have dropped out.
“If I knew I could get $150,000 somewhere else where the headlines were not always the murder rate, the bad educational system and no public transportation, I would go there,” she said.
Library officials had advertised the position with a starting salary “above $100,000” in the hopes that a proposal would be approved.
A compromise plan that would have put the salary between $104,751 and $145,000 was also rejected Wednesday by the Metro Council.
After the matter was deferred by the Metro Council in June, the Library Board extended the deadline for applying from July 15 until Friday at midnight in order to allow the issue to be resolved.
Metro Council members encouraged the library to wait for a salary study commissioned by the city-parish.
That study is expected to be completed in December, said Annette Bookter, the city-parish’s director of Human Resources.
At Wednesday’s meetings, Bookter agreed to check with the firms conducting the study to see if an examination of the library director’s pay could be “expedited.” Bookter said Friday that was still being discussed.