The BPL trustees will be discussing and voting on the BPL budget to be sent to the Mayor's Office next Wednesday April 7 at 8:00 AM and Friday April 9 at 8:30 AM. Both meetings will be held at Rabb Hall in Copley Library. At the April 7 hearing, trustees will be presented with the options and consequences of closing eight, five, three or no libraries, and the layoffs of up to 104 people. Specifically, 38 people would lose their jobs at Copley Library, 31 in the branches, in addition to 35 vacant positions that would be eliminated. The actual vote on the budget to be sent to City Hall will be on April 9.
BPL Trustees were told by their chair Jeffrey Rudman at their most recent trustees meeting last March 24 that they would have to vote on the lay-off portion of the budget that day. However, it became clear very quickly that the trustees' votes were not there. Donna DiPrisco, who had said previously she would do all she could to stave off closings, complained no distinction was made between the types of jobs to be eliminated, thus obscuring the actual savings. Trustee Paul LaCamera expressed difficulty being responsible for separating 69 people from their careers and livelihoods, and concern about pitting branches against Copley Library. "I need to do more agonizing," he said, adding he was not "as informed as he should have been." James Carroll, while profusely complimenting BPL president Amy Ryan for her "transformative vision" said that he would be "reassured" if he knew all non-personnel cuts had been made before the "drastic action" of laying off staff. Evelyn Arana-Ortiz, a West Roxbury resident who said she had two children, 11 and 13, confessed that "with all the controversy" she was wondering whether "she was doing the right thing." Zamawa Arenas asked for more financial modeling of options. Chair Rudman quickly agreed to postpone the vote to the April 9 meeting, and the BPL executive staff was sent scrambling for financial models and additional information to be presented April 7.