Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

July 25, 2012

Library board mulls raises

Members interviewing for director position.

By Scott Smith
Tribune staff writer

Kokomo — Kokomo-Howard County Public Library employees might be in line for pay raises, if the library board passes its administration’s proposed budget.

Most full-time employees would see a 1.75 percent raise under the proposal, which could be voted on at the board’s Aug. 20 meeting. It would be the second year in a row for raises at the library, which saw salaries frozen in the 2009 and 2010 budgets.

The overall $5.26 million budget would be a 1.5 percent increase over this year’s budget, and would maintain the library’s current reserves of about $1 million, library interim director Peg Harmon said Tuesday.

The board could pass the budget either before or after hiring a new library director.

Board vice president Joe Dunbar said Tuesday it’s possible the board could make a final decision during the next scheduled round of candidate interviews, on Aug. 13 and 14.

Last week, the board brought candidates back for second interviews. Dunbar declined to say how many candidates still were under consideration.

Harmon said the proposed budget contains $81,658 for the director’s salary, which is down considerably from former director Charles Joray’s $98K pay package.

Dunbar said the new director’s salary is still being negotiated.

While the overall library budget has remained relatively stable over the past 10 years, the biggest change has been the amounts put into reserve each year.

The proposed budget would set aside about $20,000 for the reserve fund next year.

In comparison, the 2003 budget set aside $330,000 for reserves. About 48 percent of that year’s budget was consumed by salaries and benefits.

Harmon said salaries and benefits would comprise about 62 percent of the proposed budget.

“We’ve cut some, and others have had to step up and do more,” Dunbar said of the proposed raises. “We thought at least part of their cost-of-living increases could be made up.”

Dunbar said the library is more or less finished with building projects for the time being, after having built the Russiaville Branch, the South Branch, the new Outreach Building and renovating the Main Library in a little more than a decade.

The library’s 10-year plan includes the possibility of expanding the Russiaville Branch, Dunbar said. He said those plans could also change.

He said building plans haven’t been a part of the conversation with the director candidates.

“We’re looking for a vision of what the future of the library is going to look like, leadership capability, community partnership building, and business knowledge and experience with budgets,” Dunbar said of the board’s criteria.

• Scott Smith is a Kokomo Tribune staff writer. He may be reached at 765-454-8569 or via email at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com