Opposition to Escondido library outsourcing grows – California News

Opposition to Escondido library outsourcing grows – California News

Nearly 200 angry residents were thrilled Tuesday afternoon when the Escondido Library Board of Trustees unanimously decided to recommend that the City Council not outsource the city’s library services to a private company.

If the system was broken it might make sense, the board members said. “But we have a fabulous library,” board president Ron Guiles said. The $400,000 in predicted annual cost savings is not worth the risk of diminished service to the community, they agreed.

Probably late this month during a meeting scheduled for Aug. 23, the council will decide whether to contract with Library Systems & Services (LS&S), a Maryland-based company that operates more than 80 public libraries around the United States.

During the meeting, City Manger Jeff Epp sat quietly in the back of the library’s Turrentine room, which was packed with passionate opponents of the plan. Afterward, he said it has not yet been decided whether the city’s staff will suggest the council move forward with the outsourcing plan.

LS&S, the only private company in the country that offers such services, would replace roughly three dozen city library employees, although some of the longest-serving workers would be eligible for other city jobs. The rest would be given the option of working for the company, but without the many benefits that come with working for the city such as an attractive pension plan.

Opponents of the plan worry that the quality of library employees would suffer as more-experienced librarians leave for jobs at other public-operated libraries.

Also sitting quietly in the back of the room Tuesday was Todd Frager, LS&S’s chief…

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