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Naperville library to offer voluntary buyouts
By Melissa Jenco | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 4/2/2010 12:02 AM

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Naperville Public Library will offer voluntary buyouts to employees this year in hopes of preventing, or at least lessening, future layoffs.

The library board recently approved plans that will allow it to replace those who choose to leave with less expensive new hires.

The library employs 288 people, the majority of whom are part-time. Officials estimate they could save $5,000 to $25,000 per employee next fiscal year through the separation program.

Employees who have been with the library for three to five years will be eligible for three weeks of base salary if they take a buyout. Those with six to 10 years with the library will get six weeks of base salary and employees with 11 or more years will get eight weeks of base salary.

Employees taking a buyout must have been with the library for at least three years and can't have already signed a letter of resignation or retirement or be in the midst of disciplinary action. The library's executive director, deputy director, administrative director, finance manager and human resources manager are not eligible.

Administrative Director Marcia Lebeau said the library likely will offer the separations early in the new fiscal year that starts May 1 to give officials time to plan for the following fiscal year. She hopes identifying cost savings early will help lessen potential layoffs next year.

"If we're going to have to cut positions altogether in 2012, which could very well happen, it also means a reduction in services," she said.

Lebeau acknowledged there is some danger of losing the "brain power" of veteran employees but said the program is not meant to be an early retirement incentive. Instead, it is geared toward employees who don't feel the job is a good match for them.

"That way we hope we're not losing everybody who has been here forever because we would be hurting," Lebeau said. "Depending where they are in the organization the harder it will be to replace them."

The library has reduced its staff this fiscal year by the equivalent of 4.5 full-time employees by turning two 40-hour jobs into 30 hours each and not filling vacancies.

It has eliminated pay increases for the coming fiscal year and premium pay for Sundays. Starting May 2, it will reduce its Sunday hours by one hour. All three library locations will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.