An extremely shortsighted recommendation by the City Council's finance committee would put state funding for the Salem library, along with residents' borrowing privileges, at risk. It should be rejected when the full council meets to vote on the overall city budget tomorrow night.
Peeved over raises granted three staff members whose duties and responsibilities were expanded due to promotion, three of the five members of the committee (Councilors John Ronan, Steve Pinto and Paul Prevey) voted to recommend the library budget be cut by $29,000.
The reduction would likely put the city's contribution below the minimum necessary to continue receiving state aid and would result in a suspension of patrons' borrowing privileges within the North of Boston Library Exchange.
Salem's library has long had a reputation as one of the busiest and most user-friendly in the region. It's one of those institutions Councilor-at-large Tom Furey would call a "crown jewel" of the city. He and colleague Bob McCarthy were the finance committee members who voted against the cuts, and we hope a majority of their colleagues join them in supporting the Driscoll administration's original funding request.
We haven't heard anyone suggest that promotions within the Police or Fire departments be granted minus the pay raises that normally come with them. It's hypocritical to try to apply such a policy to library administrators who do not have the benefit of union protection.
Voters might want to keep this latest instance of council silliness in mind come November.