Reston Spring

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Reston Spring

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

UPDATED: County library chief proposes more than $900,000 in further cuts to the FCPL budget

UPDATE #2:  In feedback we have received from Deputy County Executive David Molchany, he states that he made the cuts in the County Library budget, which--as we report below--were extremely disproportionate to the size of the Library budget and attributed to Sam Clay and Ed Long.  Apparently, Mr. Clay did not have a "conversation" with Mr. Long, although we never said he did.  More importantly,  it appears that "at no time" did Mr. Clay step forward and say to anyone that the proposed cuts were outrageous and unacceptable or otherwise object to the severity of the proposed cuts.  

Here is what Molchany and Clay say:

From: Molchany, Dave
Sent: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 3:00 PM
To: Clay III, Edwin S.
Cc: Strotman, Katie; White-Williams, Patricia; King, Debra; Winkels, Evelyn; Kositch, Margaret R; LIB-BRANCH MANAGERS; LIB-BRANCH MANAGERS ASST; LIB-ADMIN; LIB-ARCHIVES; LIB TechTips; Charles Fegan; Donald Heinrichs; Joseph(Dr.) Sirh (; Karrie Delaney; Koplitz, margaret; Kristin Cabral; Liz Clements; Mary Petersen (; Michael Cutrone; Michael Donovan; Priscille Dando; Willard Jasper; Molchany, Dave
Subject: Re: Comments on new cuts to FCPL
Sam was not involved. The $250,000 was new money added in the County Executive's Advertised Budget and now suggested as a reduction and the other cuts were proposed to the Board of Supervisors last year and simply put forward again. 
My message may not get to the Library staff lists for Branch Managers, Branch Managers Assistants, Admin, Archives and Tech Tips... Please make sure that it is forwarded to these groups. 
David J. Molchany
Deputy County Executive

Sent from my iPad
On Mar 19, 2014, at 2:48 PM, "Clay III, Edwin S." <> wrote:
Contrary to the information contained in Ms. Kaplan’s memo as well as the ongoing misinformation in the Reston blog, I at no time had a conversation with the County Executive regarding the proposed  budget cuts for the library system.  He may have had conversations with other agency heads re the proposed cuts but I was not one of them.
Edwin S. Clay III
Director, Fairfax County Public Library
Molchany deserves at least some credit for stepping up and accepting responsibility for this travesty.

UPDATE #1:  Fairfax County Chief Executive Ed Long's proposal for additional cuts to the FY2015 budget includes the library cuts recommended by Library Chief Sam Clay and provides additional details.  

The proposed $250,000 cut in the "materials" budget (found in the IT section of Long's memo):

(would have allowed) for the purchase of nearly 13,000 items in areas such as childrens homework support, additional copies of popular non-fiction, college guides, tests and job skill manuals, and additional copies of classic non-fiction titles.   This increase was intended to be the first of a four year commitment to increase the collections within libraries.
The  proposed $674,359 from the library’s budget that would eliminate 14/7 FTE merit positions:
. . . would reduce hours by 9-hours-per-week at Regional Libraries (Note:  this includes Reston Regional Library) and 6-hours-per week at Community Libraries, with a corresponding reduction of 14/7.0 FTE merit positions and 14 benefits-eligible exempt positions. This reduction would cause substantial customer dissatisfaction given the fact that hours were just restored in FY 2013 and would be strongly opposed by the Library Board. If additional reductions beyond the FY 2012 operating hours were requested, the Library would seek to adjust hours in a similar across-the-board manner.

From: Clay III, Edwin S.
Sent: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 5:05 PM
To: 'Charles Fegan'; 'Donald Heinrichs'; Joseph(Dr.) Sirh (; 'Karrie Delaney'; 'Koplitz, margaret'; 'Kristin Cabral'; Liz Clements; Mary Petersen (; 'Michael Cutrone'; 'Michael Donovan'; 'Priscille Dando'; 'Willard Jasper'
Cc: LIBRARY; 'Barbara Leadbetter'; 'Brian Jacoby'; 'Bruce Wallachy'; 'Christine Peterson'; 'Corinne Savage'; 'George Mason Friends'; 'Gerald Miske'; 'John Ball'; 'John Brugger'; 'John Finneman'; 'Karen O’Meara'; 'Lois Leinkram'; 'Michael Eaton'; 'Michelle Miller'; 'Nora Gyuk'; 'Patricia Jack'; 'Patricia Riedinger'; 'Paul Herer'; 'Peter Bastone'; 'Phylis Salak'; 'Rebecca Fleck'; 'Sharon Kraftchak'; 'Steven May'; 'Yolanda Atkins'; 'AS'; 'Courtney Bulger'; 'Donald Britton'; 'Duwain Ketch'; Gordon, Gerald L.; 'Gretchen Moss'; 'J.D. Morrissette'; 'James Dyke'; 'Janet Kerr Tener'; 'Jeffrey Armstrong'; 'Joan Kane'; 'Judi Nardella'; 'Laura Mandeles'; 'Leah Fried'; 'Louise Meade'; 'Lucinda Robb'; 'Mark Snow'; Murphy, Martina M.; 'Mary Myers'; 'Mary Zimmerman'; 'Patrick Dexter'; 'Paula Koeck-gomez'; 'Rebecca Parker'; 'Richard Brady'; 'Robin Thurman'; 'Sally Merten'; 'Susan Harman'; 'Sushma Shenoy'; 'Whit Minkler'
Subject: Possible cuts to the library budget


Good afternoon:

In response to a motion from Supervisor Cook (see pages 8 and 9) at the March 4 Board of Supervisors meeting, the county executive presented the Board of Supervisors with a reduction package today at the first budget committee meeting. This list, prepared by the county executive, included the following items effecting the library:

  • Remove the $250,000 increase for materials from the library’s FY2015 budget;
  • Eliminate an additional $674,359 from the library’s budget and eliminate 14/7 FTE merit positions. This amount was provided in FY2013 to increase hours at community branches by 6 hours per week and regionals by 9 hours per week. (This reduction to the budget would mean library hours and staffing would be reduced to FY2012 levels.)
  • No further reductions in employee compensation: The county executive discouraged the Board of Supervisors from considering an employee compensation increase of 2 percent for FY 2015, but suggests the increase remain at 1.29 percent for FY2015 and an additional two percent increase in FY2016 for a total 3.29 percent compensation increase over the two year period.

I will send a link to the full reduction list once it is posted to the county’s public website.

Keep in mind these reductions are a proposal--there are still public hearings and community meetings to be held. Chairman Bulova outlined her priorities for this year’s budget process:  the impact of the tax rate on the taxpayer; the requirements for schools and then the county.

The Board of Supervisors will make modifications, i.e., mark-up the budget on Tuesday, April 22 and adopt the budget on Tuesday, April 29.  Action on these items will take place at one of those two meetings. I will keep you apprised of any additional information going forward.
The specific motion by Supervisor Cook mentioned above is as follows:
Following further discussion (of a motion to find further funding cuts to meet claimed shortfalls in FCPS budget needs), Supervisor Cook moved to amend the motion to direct the County Executive to identify $15–20 million in County spending reductions to go on a Consideration list. Supervisor Herrity seconded the motion. 
And we know that the County Executive Ed Long wouldn't know how to put together or amend the library budget.  

Long almost certainly told Clay to propose further specific cuts.  The result was the above proposal by Sam Clay to cut more than $900,000 from the advertised FY2015 FCPL operating budget proposal--accounting for some 15-20% of the proposed entire County-wide package.  This proposed $900,000+ cut is from a $27.7 million operating budget proposal that is already down more than $1 million from FY2014's revised budget and comprises less than three-quarters of one percent of the proposed $3.7 BILLION in proposed General Fund spending the County expects FY2015.  Indeed, the County's total proposed spending for FY2015 is twice that, $7.0 BILLION!

. . . but Long and Clay have to cut the library budget MORE!

The unmitigated disaster that is the "leadership" by Sam Clay of the County's library system has no limits.   At what point does one say to the County Executive or even a Supervisor, "Enough is enough!"  Apparently Clay lacks that courage and commitment to the County's public libraries.  Long clearly doesn't care.

If Clay were honorable, he would quit.  Since he isn't, he should be fired.  And it would really help if Long followed him right out the door.  


  1. You may be attributing statements or actions to people who did not make them. You then go ahead and personally castigate them for these statements. Davy Crockett has been quoted as saying "Be Sure You're RIGHT, Then Go Ahead". Are you?

  2. I'm curious how you seem to know that Mr. Clay was involved with this decision. I don't see anything in the memo you have posted that indicates Mr. Clay was doing anything other than report.

    In addition, Mr. Long is doing as he was directed by the County Board, which was find additional places to cut funding. It is ultimately up to the board to approve these suggestions or to tell him to go find other sources to cut or develop ways to increase funding. If you aren't happy with this result, speak with your county board members.

  3. The FCPL collection has suffered a net loss of 460,522 holdings since 2006, or 20% of the collection, during the time when two branch libraries were opened and the county's population rose 8%. Reston Regional's part of that net loss to holdings is 36,619. This was from years of cuts due to the recession and excessive culling, especially last year. The Board of Supervisors seeing the loss to the library's collection voted a Consideration Item of $1 million to replace books. Ed Long decided to spread that amount out over four years. The proposed cuts yesterday will not only take away the $250,000 amount for books but will result in closing libraries on Sundays and firing librarians. The library has been damaged by funding cuts and it is appropriate for taxpayers to speak with their supervisors. Now would be a good time.

    Kathy Kaplan

  4. The real issues here are 1)the complete abandonment of support for a quality library system by the Board of Supervisors 2)the utter lack of leadershup/vision/advocacy by Director Clay. Fairfax County funds our libraries less per resident than any library system in Norrthern Va. - less than even the meagre Va State average. Clay has a large responsibility for this reality due to his failure to advocate for our library, value our library staff, and inspire/rally our library users to speak out for quality libraries. We need a new Director with a very different attitude and approach.


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