Salary Hinders Search for New Library Director

SANDOWN – The Sandown Public Library’s Board of Trustees has been seeking a replacement for library director Barbara Lachance, who retired in June, but as yet they have been unable to find the right fit.

During their meeting with the board of selectmen Monday night, trustee Diana True updated the board on their quest. So far the main stumbling block has been the salary.
The job has been posted twice. In the first round, 26 applications were received. While 10 were residents of New Hampshire, the others came from 12 different states. Three of those applicants did not have the required Master of Library Sciences (MLS) degree. Seven withdrew or declined based on the salary offer.
By the end of the process, the trustees were close to offering the job to three of the candidates. One declined because of a family emergency, one took another job for better pay and the third declined because of the pay.
The second round has seen the same results. Six applicants came in this time, and one declined the job after an interview because of the pay. The trustees were set to interview an applicant Oct. 8, after the Tri-Town Times went to press.
The trustees are offering a salary range of $48,000 to $55,000.
Trustee Tina Owens explained that the lack of results was not for lack of effort, as on average the group has met once a week since Lachance stepped down.
True noted that the trustees have been stopping regularly into the library to speak with employees to make sure they know they haven’t been forgotten. Employees have been stepping up to make sure the library runs well without a director, and assistant director Cathy Hassard is taking on many of the director’s duties.
In other business Monday night:
• The selectmen approved the library’s proposed budget to be sent to the budget committee. Selectman Hans Nicolaisen had a few questions about under spent budget lines and succeeded in getting the electricity line lowered in the coming year.
The budget was approved at a gross expense of $291,196.32, up from the current year’s $287,378.52. The benefits lines do not yet show increases, as those percentages are unknown. The trustees gave employees a 2 percent raise, in line with what the selectmen agreed to give the town’s employees.
• Selectmen took a look at potential warrant articles for Town Meeting in March.
Notable were the board’s initial disinclination to again consider anything to do with the house numbering ordinance or raising the stipend amount for selectmen, but did note interest in potentially contracting out the town’s welfare casework. Town administrator and welfare director Lynne Blaisdell told the selectmen that the town of Hampstead gave her positive reports about their decision to contract with Community Health Services for the work. According to Blaisdell the price seemed reasonable and the outcomes commendable.
The board may also consider again putting two articles forward for a new police station, one to fund the project completely, another to keep the annual installment level.

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