In a move to bring its employees closer to a living wage, Woodstock Library trustees voted unanimously to increase the clerk starting pay to $15 per hour and included across-the-board raises for existing staff with no budget increase.
“In looking at the wages the town pays and the cost of living, I’m excited about offering this,” said Director Jessica Kerr at the library board’s monthly meeting February 21.
The raises came at the suggestion of the personnel committee, who discussed ways to bring compensation more in line with a “living wage,” trustee Selma Kaplan said.
Part-time clerks will now receive $15 per hour, full-time clerks will get $17 per hour and the library technician will get $19 per hour. A newly hired part-time clerk will also get $15 per hour. Prior to the raises, clerks made between $12 and $14.10 per hour depending on experience and performance.
The other raises for the more seasoned staff will come after satisfactory reviews. The library will also hire a part-time substitute clerk to help with workload during absences and vacations.
In addition to the raises, the board adopted the personnel committee’s recommendations to pay head librarian Kim Apolant $5000 for taking on director responsibilities while Kerr was on medical leave and Kerr $3629.83 for 103.95 hours of unpaid worker’s compensation due to an error.
Apolant’s extra pay is the same $300 per week differential Kerr was paid as acting director when Amy Raff resigned.
The raises and extra pay will come from $21,850 in unspent funds previously allocated to salaries, medical insurance and state retirement system premiums due to staff comings and goings.
“We hear it all the time that this town is getting expensive,” Trustee Bobby Bui said. “This should be a standard that everybody follows.”
Architect’s fee would be $584,000
Talks will start soon with architect Stephen Tilly on the proposed new 12,000-square-foot building. Responding to public input, the size is pared down from the initial 15,000 square feet and will incorporate as much additional parking as possible.
The board has taken a few steps back and has promised to listen more. Despite defeating a referendum to dissolve the library district, trustees say they want to acknowledge the opposition to a new building and bring them into the discussion. The board plans a series of forums it calls community conversations.
Tilly of Dobbs Ferry was chosen after he emerged as the public’s favorite from a design contest over the summer. His New England-style grange building features clapboard siding, an open floor plan and wood truss structure. Tilly touted locally sourced materials in his presentation and plans to incorporate the historic ell section of the current library in his design. The building will feature geothermal heating and cooling and capture as much daylight and rainwater as possible
Tilly’s breakdown of costs for his services, consisting of a broad outline at this time, total $584,000, or 11.68% of the target $5 million building cost. That amount would include civil, mechanical, electrical, acoustical and lighting work and interior and landscape design.
The breakdown is $71,832 for the schematic design phase, $189,216 for design development, $204,400 for construction documents, $20,440 for procurement and $98,000 for the construction phase.
Building Committee Chair Jill Fisher said cost savings may come from taking on work in-house or hiring others, such as hiring a clerk of the works like the town does for its construction projects.
Trustee Kevin Kraft expressed concern about possible additional costs incurred by requesting meetings with Tully because of the travel time from Dobbs Ferry. Fisher and others suggested possibly coordinating times when Tully is in town working on other projects.
The board authorized Fisher to work with Tully on drafting a contract so the library’s attorney can review it and the board can vote on it.