Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Detroit Public Library Takes a Page from the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates

Check out the headline.

Nepotism rampant at Detroit libraries. (Detroit News, 5/6/2011)

Excerpt: Administrators say they take pride in the "family atmosphere" at the Detroit Public Library, but questions of nepotism, cronyism and mismanagement are dogging the cash-strapped system.

Three top library executives have had family members on the payroll, including until recently the human resources director's two children. The system gave a library commissioner's nonprofit agency $15,000 to sponsor neighborhood events. And another commissioner's daughter was given a $150,000 event planning contract in 2009.

Employee unions question that contract because she didn't have a college degree and was hired by the woman her father would support two months later for the vacant executive director's job.

Hiring relatives is so common at the library that about one in six staffers have relatives among the 376 employees, according to an internal review obtained by The Detroit News.

"This nepotism and cronyism has led to the downfall of the city," said Reginald Amos, a retired Detroit Fire Department deputy chief and resident who said the family hires remind him of ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's administration. "It's the friends-and-family plan. It's not about serving the people. It's self-serving."

The revelations come amid increasing questions about the library system's leadership, which doled out a 6 percent raise to union employees over the past two years but now faces an $11 million shortfall that could mean massive branch closures and layoffs

Related articles:
The news just keeps getting worse. (5/6/2011)
The Detroit Public Library needs some good news (and this isn't it).  (5/5/2011)
Rainy day fund keeps fewer branches from closing.  (4/29/2011)
Proposal to close 18 of 23 Detroit branches sparks anger. (4/22/2011)
Few expenses spared in South Wing remodeling of library.  (4/22/2011)
Downward spiral.  (4/16/2011)
Library reduces staff by 20%. (3/4/2011)
Budget woes. (2/5/2011)

Yeah, the Pirates won in spite of those ugly uniforms.

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