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Foster 18 November 2007 Overall Approach and Rationale Problems such as non-functioning toilets and computers require immediate attention. The issues being raised by Hector--budget, ethics, and safety--are also urgent, but do not immediately impact the daily functioning of the library. Ethics problems should be addressed to the entire staff. From the overall sound of things, it appears that either there are several policies that are too vague to enforce, or else the staff is not aware of what the policies say. Either some policies need to be rewritten, or some staff members need to have the policies brought to their attention, or both. Communication 1: Late Employee Email to Al: Thank you for your email. It’s clear from the problems that you describe that the attendance policies need to be reviewed, and possibly need to be clarified or rewritten. We will review the existing policies at the next staff meeting. Rationale: What exactly does the staff policy on attendance say? If it's that vague, then it's pretty useless. Does every staff member have a copy, or have access to an electronic copy? Is there a copy posted in the staff room or (better yet) the staff wiki? If not, the next staff meeting would be a good time to bring this up. This can wait until the staff meeting. Communication 2: Financial malfeasance Call to Hector: Thank you for the heads-up. I have already scheduled a staff meeting for this Wednesday, and we will be reviewing several topics, including Internet abuse. Rationale: It's too late to prevent any abuses that may have already taken place, I don't know what the scope of a possible audit might be in terms of how far back in time it could reach, and I'm not going to erase or falsify existing records. At this point I can only prevent abuses going forward. Communication 3: The Technical Services position Email to Merle and members of the Search & Screen Committee: Thank you very much for your time and efforts in our search for a new head of Technical Services. As you know, the town's hiring process has come under close scrutiny in recent years, and has been updated within the past year. I gave a copy of it to each person on the committee when we began our search. The job posting was clear and unambiguous about the education and experience required for the position. We are allowed to consider candidates with less experience, or candidates nearing the completion of the advanced degree, if they have other abilities and experience that may substitute, and we included Ms. Scronski in the candidate pool for that reason. However, all other things being equal, we are bound by the hiring process to select the candidate who meets or exceeds the stated requirements. I will take your recommendation into account when I make my decision, which will be announced by the end of this week. I will ask Diane to schedule a wrap-up meeting for us for Thursday. Rationale: I'm sure I was very clear on the role of the Search & Screen Committee. I made sure that each member of the committee had a copy of the committee's duties and responsibilities. It's very unfortunate that they sent me this memo, because it's clear from the memo that at least one or more people on the committee are personal friends of Jane Anne or her family. The department head position is full-time and comes with full benefits, and I would be hard pressed to hire Jane Anne now even if I wanted to, for fear that it would give the impression that the library is a place that hands out patronage jobs to friends and relatives. The S&S committee has really backed me into a corner, and I will explain this to them in person on Thursday in an effort to make sure this doesn't happen again. Communication 4: Newspapers and discards
Call Hector: Thank you for the alert about the newspapers. Rest assured that it will be taken care of today. And while I have you on the phone, let's talk about scheduling a meeting for Tuesday afternoon to discuss the budget.
for example. I will not “punish” all of our patrons just because one person is abusing his library privileges. Let Diane know when my meeting with Hector is scheduled so that she can schedule Sylvia and Mia around that. It can't take too much staff time. We don't want to end up spending more money preventing possible fraud than if we were to just forgive the fine and move on. Rationale: The discarded papers and magazines in the hallway could be blocking an emergency escape path and are themselves a fire hazard. then a procedure needs to be put into place to ensure that there will be the next time this happens. This is a problem that is better dealt with on a case by case basis. Rationale: Toilets don't get better by themselves. and are not a real solution to this problem. If there is no such documentation. If it appears that the procedures are unclear. Communication 8: Computers on Fritz . then and only then should the patron be put on notice. and/or billing for missing and overdue items. Let him know that a plumber will be summoned today.Email to All Staff: Please place discarded newspapers and magazines from the staff room into the appropriate recycling receptacles. Internet filters are imperfect at best. but as you know. though. and that he should plan on being available to assist the plumber to access any utility closets. fining. I prefer that we continue to handle this issue on a case by case basis. I will not take the chance that one of our patrons will be blocked from a legitimate website with information on. The responsibilities of both the staff members and the custodian with respect to discarded papers and magazines need to be clarified. Please let Elmo know when the plumber arrives. Also add to Staff meeting agenda. How much *does* it cost to do that shelf check? Communication 7: Pornography (again) Email to Merle: I appreciate your concern. and one that I do not wish to take without documented evidence that the patron is trying to defraud the library. and this is best addressed at a staff meeting. a place needs to be established. Email to Diane: Please call and schedule a plumber to come in TODAY to fix the toilet that has been repeatedly overflowing. which will be scheduled for later this week. Rationale: No one—patron or librarian—complained at the time. Please do not take any action against this patron at this time. Rationale: We need to be able to produce documented evidence that we checked the shelves for the item in question before taking the step of denying library services. etc. or not being followed consistently. Denying library services to one of our regular patrons is a serious step. Communication 6: Deadbeats Email to Merle: Thank you for bringing this problem to my attention. and left unattended could lead to even worse damage in the form of walls and ceiling that need to be repaired or replaced. Communication 5: Overflowing toilet Call Elmo: he probably doesn't have much opportunity to check his email. If there is no proper place to dispose of these items. we will review our present procedures for searching for. breast cancer. simply because another patron is abusing his privileges. If a patron complains or if a librarian sees a patron viewing inappropriate materials. At the next staff meeting. then you and I will meet privately later in the week and decide what needs to be clarified. They can and should be dealt with today.
re Sylvia Email to Mia: You are quite correct that the town energy conservation policy requires us to keep the thermostat no higher than 68 in the winter time. I would like to speak with you personally about this matter. I can be prepared to talk about what services we might be able to cut back on or eliminate. And since I initiated a cross-training program. Please make an appointment with Diane for us to meet on Tuesday afternoon. Communication 11: from Mia. more. Also request that a couple of loaners be brought over immediately for our use while we wait for the new machines. There has already been enough time and money wasted on these two machines. I am asking . I would like to speak with you personally about this matter. and will top the agenda of the next staff meeting. than two new machines would have cost. and what each service costs. wherein every staff member learns to do at least one job that is outside their departmental expertise. As you know. everyone needs to be clear as to what constitutes abuse under the current policy. Roll this into the general alert that came from Hector regarding financial abuses. I’m putting it on the agenda for the next staff meeting to review the town’s policies on the personal use of staff computers. and add it to the agenda for the emergency staff meeting on Wednesday. Communication 10: Internet abuse? Email to Al: Thank you for bringing this to my attention. and ask them to find another dealer—I don’t want to buy any more products from this guy. but at least it won't have as hard an impact on the library operations than if we were still working each in our own little "silo. and we've already invested too much of your time and efforts into getting them repaired. While I would expect a reasonable amount of personal use of the computers. the policy also asks us to refrain from leaving windows and doors open unnecessarily. or have expenses of more than Y dollars per event. and will top the agenda of the next staff meeting. it will be a painful decision. Diane has made it clear in her memo that these two computers are essential. Computers are necessary for the smooth functioning of almost any library.Email to Diane: It sounds to me like these two computers are long overdue to be replaced. Rationale: See next communication Communication 12: from Sylvia. Let's get together on Tuesday afternoon to talk. Please contact the town IT department and find out how soon we can get two new computers. the town energy conservation policy requires us to keep the thermostat no higher than 68 in the winter time. probably. Rationale: The request for staff cuts would be a shock if I were not prepared for it. Make sure that IT understands that we want this order expedited. but I'm afraid I don't have time to do it today. I would have a computer installed in the staff room for use during break times. but I'm afraid I don't have time to do it today. This is an important subject in these days of rising energy costs. As a long-term solution. not over just one department. re Mia Email to Sylvia: As you know. But when I started this job I initiated a review of all on-going programs and services that require more than X hours per month. But I do have a current list of all the services that our staff fulfills. even if Hector does in the end insist on doing things the oldfashioned way and laying off a staff member. This is an important subject in these days of rising energy costs. and certainly any mid-sized library. While the staff may be able to share computers for a few days." We'll be able to spread out the extra work over the entire staff. The policy also asks us to refrain from leaving windows and doors open unnecessarily. Communication 9: Ad Hoc Task Force of Personnel Recision Memo to Hector: No position on my staff is expendable. Rationale: This is not enough evidence to issue an explicit warning to Merle. Rationale: “Incompatible software” and “50 pound” computers that have a problem that’s already been “fixed” once are probably too old to rely on (even if the 50 pounds is possibly an exaggeration).
and to swap public desk schedules as necessary to make this happen. • Town policy on energy conservation • Staff computer use policy • Attendance policies • Public computer use policies • Search/fine/billing procedures for missing and overdue materials Call for volunteers. I will be out of the office until tomorrow afternoon. of course. It would be better. but I will be in a workshop all afternoon and tomorrow morning. Thanks. it wouldn't hurt to remind the entire staff. the staff member will be paid straight time or can take compensatory time at a later date. but if it looks like that can't happen. Newspapers. MBJ . no more than two or three per committee. They both need to be reminded of the town's energy conservation policy.Diane to schedule an appointment for us to meet on Tuesday afternoon. I am authorizing Diane to purchase a space heater for you. maybe I can smooth things over a little by meeting with each of them individually and addressing their disruptive behaviors and the effect on other staff members. magazines. and other discards and recyclables Questions and Comments As you know. I will have to make sure that I brief my new Tech Services department head accordingly. in an effort to alleviate the immediate problem of the temperature in your work space. cc Sylvia: Please order a space heater for Sylvia. but have surfaced now due to their lack of a direct supervisor. then I will step in. Email to Diane. if they could come to an agreement between themselves. Diane. Each meeting will be no longer than 45 minutes. Please do not hesitate to call and leave a message on my cell phone if you have any questions about the staff meetings. one during the morning shift and one during the afternoon/evening shift. Email to Diane: Please schedule two staff meetings for Wednesday. to review each policy and make recommendations for updating it. If a staff member needs to come in early or stay late in order to attend one of the meetings. In the meantime. I will return your calls as soon as I can. Rationale: The on-going battle between Sylvia and Mia over the temperature in their workspace sounds like it is really a cover for some deeper conflicts that have probably been going on for a long time. either. Maybe their schedules can be arranged so as to minimize the amount of time they have to be in the same room together. In the meantime. The agenda for the meetings is as follows: • • • • Distribute copies of the following town and library policies. I want every staff member to attend one meeting or the other. and with heating season well underway.