Who knew libraries were such a hotbed of intrigue?
The Larchmont Public Library recently welcomed Laura Eckley as Director, a friendly and energetic NYU grad, with a Masters in Library Science from Long Island University, who answers her own phone. She was most recently Director at the Bronxville Library, a position she held for nine years.
Sadly, that exit is tainted with bad feelings on both sides. In October, the Bronxville Village Board voted to give Ms. Eckley a raise of about $24,000 (including benefits,) while expressing what a good job she had done.
At the next board meeting in November, they voted to take back the raise, citing bad information about available money in the budget, and replaced it with a raise of about $10,900 including benefits.
On Dec. 15, Eckley filed a lawsuit, alleging Bronxville’s mayor had overstepped her authority by urging the board members to reverse the raise. She also claimed male department heads in Bronxville made substantially larger salaries.
Ms. Eckley says at the time of the suit, she had “already applied for the opportunity to work at the Larchmont Library,” which had posted a vacancy due to the retirement of Diane Courtney last year.
In January, Eckley resigned in Bronxville, was appointed in Larchmont and withdrew the lawsuit.
“I did not leave in a salary dispute,” she told us. “I came here because the Larchmont Library has a great reputation.” The position pays about $95,000 base salary plus benfits.
“When complete financial information was … presented to the library board, it became clear that they did not have sufficient money without cutting and reducing other line items in the budget to fund the raise,” Marvin wrote.
The column goes on to discredit Eckley (who had already left), and ends, perhaps melodramatically, “I understand quite clearly now why good people say no when asked to volunteer in government.”
Just as I started writing this, a Loop reader wrote to tell us of someone who applied for the Larchmont job, and “was put through 3 interviews, had references checked, and unfortunately did not get the job…. I am disappointed and quite frankly surprised that the Village would take on someone who sued her former employer over money.”
“I consider this an opportunity,” Ms. Eckley says. “Not an escape.”