Monday, August 31, 2015

Library Budget: FFxCo Candidate Forums, September and October

We recently learned from Supervisor Jeff McKay that a school supporter asked him to "zero out" the parks and library in order to fully fund the schools.  Supervisor McKay told the supporter that the combined budgets of both parks and library are only 2%.  Eliminating parks and library would not accomplish full funding of the schools.  Are other school supporters out campaigning to eliminate the library?   All of the county supervisors are campaigning now for the November election and the Library Advocates need to have a presence at the League of Women Voters' candidate forums to speak up for the library.  

It would be useful to know what the supervisors are planning for the future of the Fairfax County Public Library.  Do they want continued cuts as we have seen the past decade? 
County documents obfuscate the planned cut to the library budget for FY2017, but previously a budget cut of 20% was mentioned.  There is no way to absorb a budget cut of that magnitude without significant damage to the library including elimination of core programs, a reduction-in-force, reducing the hours of library operation, or possibly branch closures.

We hope you will attend, ask questions, and report back with comments made by the candidates so those comments can be shared on the Fairfax Library Advocates' blog.

Below are the dates of the League of Women Voters (LWV) candidate forums for September and October, the Library Board meeting for September, the Board of Supervisors' budget committee Carryover and Lines of Business (LOB) review presentation by County Executive Ed Long, and the regular Tuesday BOS meeting with the public hearing on the Carryover proposal.

Also at the bottom of this email is a link to the DMB carryover recommendation and a link with addresses for the League of Women Voters' candidate forums.

Kathy Kaplan
Fairfax Library Advocates

Upcoming dates: 

September 2:  National Assoc of Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) Candidates Forum, Mason District Gov't Center, 10 am.  

September 9:   Library Board of Trustees monthly meeting.  George Mason Regional Library, 7 pm.

September 9    LWV Springfield District, West Springfield Govt Center, 7 pm

September 11:  FfxCo Board of Supervisors (BOS) budget committee meeting on Carryover and LOB with Ed Long,  Govt Center, 1 pm.  Rooms 9 and 10.

September 16:  LWV Mt. Vernon District, Sherwood Regional Library, 7 pm

September 21:  LWV VA Senate and House of Delegates for Sully District, Sully district gov't' center, 7 pm

September 22:  BOS public hearing on budget carryover, regular Tuesday BOS meeting at Govt Center.

October 5:  LWV, Lee District, John Marshall Library, Alexandria, 7 pm.

October 7:  LWV, Providence District,  Providence Community Center, 7 pm. 

October 8:  LWV, Braddock District, Kings Park Library Community Room, 7 pm.

October 13:  LWV, FfxCo Chairman of Board of Supervisors and at-large School Board members, James Madison HS, 7 pm

October 14:  LWV, Dranesville District, McLean Community Center, 7 pm.

October 21,  LWV, Mason District, Woodrow Wilson Library Community Room, 7 pm

October 24, LWV, Hunter Mill District, Reston Community Center, 2 pm (afternoon).

October 28:  LWV, Sully District candidates for County Board of Supervisors and School Board.  Sully District Gov't Center, 7 pm.

Carryover recommendations by Ed Long:

LWV Fall 2015 meet and greet calendar, Sept and Oct:

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Letter to Charles Fegan, Chair, FfxCo Library Board of Trustees

The following letter was sent to Charles Fegan, Chair of the Library Board, August 13, 2015 by Dennis Hays:

Dear Mr. Chairman:

Congratulations again on your re-election as Chairman of the Fairfax Library Board of Trustees.  On behalf of all of us concerned about the state of our libraries let me say we are pleased you have chosen to continue to serve.  I am sure you will find the upcoming year both challenging and rewarding! 

One of those challenges is upon you and your colleagues now - the selection of a new Director for the Fairfax system.  This responsibility is the single most important personnel action your Board will take and one that rests with your Board alone - both State law and County policy are unequivocal: "the Director shall be selected and appointed by the Fairfax County Public Library Board of Trustees."

I realize this is an weighty responsibility and I am grateful for the hard work and diligent service of your search committee.  The new Director will be charged with restoring the Fairfax Library system to a position of excellence.  The years' long deterioration of the system's budget, collections, and employee morale has caused great damage.   It is thus crucial you identify and select a new Director with a proven history of restoring large library systems to their appropriate position as a cornerstone of their communities.  The District of Columbia and several jurisdictions in Virginia have successfully come back from similar self- inflicted wounds and under your leadership I am confident the Board can select a Director to restore the Fairfax system to its former prominence too.   

While it has been important and useful to have had input from non-Board Member advisors to the search committee, it is imperative no individuals other than the Members of the Board have any "vote" or "veto" on the actual selection process - this is reserved by law to the Members of your full Board.  The Supervisors of Fairfax County have placed their confidence in you through the appointment process.  As such, neither they nor any other official have any further role in the selection process other to ensure appropriate State and local laws are observed.   Inappropriate involvement in the Board's deliberations at this stage would taint the entire process and leave any decision potentially subject to well -merited criticism and open to challenge.     

Again, my thanks for your service.  Please let me know if I can ever be of assistance.  

Very best regards,  Dennis

Dennis K. Hays
Chairman, Fairfax Library Advocates