In January all the part-time workers had their hours cut in half. I thought more of them were laid off, but that did not happen. This follows a pattern of struggle with the budget. By June, the Mount Vernon Public Library was $400,000 in debt.. On June 4, library management said that they might close the library for three months. I think funds may get tighter near the end of the year.
On July 2, 2010 we had a reduction in force where 14 people were laid off, and 9 people were demoted. The number of full time workers that Mount Vernon before the layoff was 33. More than half of the staff are affected.
The process is done by seniority where the most senior members are reduced in title and moved down a grade. Those directly below them are moved down a grade as well, until it reaches the bottom where those people are laid off. It is a civil service process. It is called bumping. I did not expect it in a library. You get a little booklet produced by municipal civil service which is handed to you as part of the process. If you are in a government department, it is very standardized. The civil service commission monitors the process.
There were two human resource people from civil service, one for the group that got bumped, and one for the group that got laid off. There were also two police cruisers outside in case anything happened. Nothing did which was a blessing.
I got bumped down a grade. I am still where I am. By law, you have to take the demotion, you cannot be laid off. If you decline, you get fired in civil service.
There was a start date of July 2, 2010 and a finalization date of July 17, 2010 for notice for the demotion to go into effect. Between those two times, I remain a Librarian II. Needless to say, there is kind of an urge to contact my representatives and tell them about it. I still have hope.
The hardest part of this was watching the recent hires leave as they were laid off. It changes your perspective. Also, seeing people who had been around much longer than you were being lowered in title was hard.
Talking or writing about the layoff has to be a very calm process, preferably as part of a mass group. For example, on July 8, there is going to be a press conference in front of Mount Vernon, New York City Hall at 12 Noon about the layoff. I'll be working at the time at the reference desk. Part of the job is to remain calm, say very little, avoid negativity in both spoken and written word, and do what you always do. It is kind of an evaluation under pressure.
Stephanie L. Gross asked me if I would like to write about this.