• Book may close on library negotiations
     | April 25,2013

    MONTPELIER — Kellogg-Hubbard Library appears to be moving toward a resolution regarding a complaint that the library illegally shifted three employees out of the union as part of a change in job titles and duties.

    Union member Ruth McCullough said she could not speak about the negotiations but that both sides would be meeting Monday for another round of mediation.

    “We’re hopeful that there will be a resolution soon,” she said. “That’s all I can say.”

    Library Director Richard Bidnick didn’t return a request for comment left Wednesday morning.

    According to a letter to the state Labor Relations Board late last year from Michael Blair of the Northeast Council for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the library shifted employees who were union members into management.

    The reclassification affected two librarians and one financial assistant.

    The library has said the three positions are now midlevel management and that the jobs the three previously held became open. One of them has been filled, according to the library.

    In a five-page response to the complaint, library attorney Richard Cassidy described a scenario in which the union members chose to pursue the management positions.

    “Three members of the bargaining unit were invited to apply for these new jobs. They did so, and were promoted,” he wrote. “The library did not add supervisory duties to the existing job descriptions. It created new management jobs.”

    The library has seen significant changes in upper management in the past 15 months. Both Executive Director Daniel Pudvah and Library Director Robin Sales stepped down in early 2012. Pudvah went to work for WDEV. At the time of her resignation, Sales complained that while she was on maternity leave the library board hired a consultant, who recommended that the dual directorship under which she and Pudvah worked be replaced by a single librarian. Sales expressed dissatisfaction that she would have been required to apply for the job.

    The board has refused to discuss the consultant’s recommendations, citing the privilege to conduct personnel matters behind closed doors.

    Bidnick joined the staff late last summer. He had been the state librarian in Rhode Island.

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