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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

OK - Idea time

So many love to post.
Here goes.
Please give ideas on how to save the library.
Try to stick to facts.
Try to be nice (I will too)
And maybe, all you anonymous people, could you just add a fake name or color or number or something to your comment so a dialogue is even possible? It might seem simple to you, but when I have 5 anonymi demanding a response, well, it isn't easy.


  1. Sharon,
    I honestly don't know. Part of me is still in shock that the library is going to close and another part of me is still kicking myself in the tush for not paying more attention to TCU when they first started several years ago. They seemed like just another small group a fanatics. The library thing just pulled my head out of the sand. Maybe what we need is to pull a lot more heads out of the sand and get people more involved in what is really going on. The demographics say we have really smart people here in Troy, if we open enough eyes and minds a solution will evolve.

  2. I'm having a terribly difficult time understanding the contradictory nature of every idea I've heard from TCU.

    "Cut spending and think of the future!" vs. "Spend all our fund balance and every positive gain we've made from investments RIGHT NOW!"

    "We offered our help to figure out this budget mess/state of the city and you never invited us!" vs. "Why are you even THINKING of spending money to ask us for our help???"

    Then they continue to harp on salaries, week after week...Szerlag has done and continues to do what he is allowed by law and contract agreements. Would they have him break laws to get further than he already is?

    They complain about plowing the snow around City Hall the night of the meeting, but I GUARANTEE you if they had canceled THAT meeting -- the one at which they thought so much would happen -- we'd have heard nothing BUT complaints about them standing in the way of justice.

    They won't spend another dime for revenue, but they complain bitterly EVERY SINGLE TIME it snows and their streets aren't done in under 24 hours.

    My favorite? They tell me EVERY SINGLE DAY to stop spending "other people's money" and then tell me TO WRITE AN EXTRA BIG CHECK TO COVER THEIR SHARE of a library and other city services that they are too cheap to pay for themselves.

    To say it's frustrating is an understatement.

  3. I wouldn't post comments unless people provide their name. It makes for a more civilized discussion.

  4. Sorry...I didn't really offer an idea.

    My best idea continues to be to encourage the council to levy the one-year mill to support the library while they continue to look for long-term funding solutions.

  5. Sue - I actually agree with you. I am not a TCU person (although they are not bad people), I am not affiliated with any political party, but I do want to see things change at City Hall. Yes, salaries and benefits are one of the changes I want. I had hoped that city management would have coaxed the unions or that the unions would have just stepped up - they didn't. I guess they win for now, I'll lose this round of chicken if we can save the library.
    I too wish city council would have just ended this round for now and voted for it. It would have taken guts and courage because not everyone would have been happy. Well now I think I can safely say no one is happy, and council did not have guts or courage.

    As I have said before, we all want a library. and most realize the city can't function they way we want it to without a new tax. The problem is the perception that city management/labor force is not helping other than by cutting jobs. We could keep more people if more employees would give - even a little. Perception is everything and it is the job of city management/city council to change that perception. Once people see employees/city management and council all come together, I think we can get an increase through. It will take new labor contracts to do that though.

    And adding my name will not make for a more civilized discussion necessarily. I have seen many names listed and I don't believe for a minute it guarantees civility. But I'll call myself:

    Anon C

  6. Ever since the budget was passed, the issue has always been revenue and how to offset reduced income from property owners and the State. Using expenses as the solution merely is a diversion since politicians always choose the lesser of 2 evils.

    So, the only realistic long-term, solution is to do what Oak Park just did by passing 3 millages for specific needs. In the interim, hopefully the "survey" being conducted will give the politicians "cover" to utilize the Library Law.

    Besides sending your thoughts by email to the Council, the City now has a new "suggestion box" - both are accesssed from the City's Home page

  7. Anon C, I appreciate your C-is-for-civil comments. :)

    Council and the City Manager, however, cannot FORCE anyone to give more through other means that those they are using.

    Could they do better PR? Yes. Totally. But I know that Mr. Szerlag DID offer several symposiums last year during the time of the millage vote, and they were poorly attended.

    He could have spent money on a mailer -- but we've heard how folks hate the "slick mailers" that no longer get sent.

    Council could have gone out, too. I often wish some of them had the fervor and commitment to the city/library that Rhonda Hendrickson had -- or that us Proposal 1 worker bees had. A few more doors knocked on or a few more speaking engagements might have given us the 350 votes we needed for a different outcome.

    Now they can only support with their vote to levy that mill for the year to get us through the election process.

  8. My idea to save the library AND all other amenities in this city is simple: Cut ALL budget areas by the percentage of shortfall. For example, if the city is short 10% of revenue because of lower taxes, all areas get cut by 10%. This idea would keep everything open i.e. the library, the nature center, the museum and the community center. It would be up to individual management or budget committees to figure out how to "trim the fat" so to speak from their areas.

  9. I think PR would help - but only if it is honest. Not saying people were not honest before, just not straight forward. People don't want symposiums, even that sounds like bull to many. It sounds like Mr. S will educate us so come forth and be educated. People want to cut the crap so to speak and just say it. Don't hide behind - state law, mandated this, charter that....
    If we need to fund pensions - don't have Lamerato do a little fund this, fund that, side step. Just say it, we may not like it, we may not agree with it but at least you said it in plain english even a non-financial person can get it.

    Stop using the words Option 1 - like it came down from on-high. It is not the bible, not written in stone and is subject to change.

    People will vote yes, when they believe they have the whole story - and that is the job of council. They need to force their employees to answer the questions being asked and stop going back to talking points or changing the questions so they can use their canned responses. I heard, literally the exact same words come out of city employees mouths at several of those symposiums last year - I went to most of them. I think they had a canned speech, and bringing the majority of city management along for the ride was overkill.
    Troy has a lot of smart people living here who are not looking for a dog and pony show - they want to know how is the city cutting employees, from what levels, saving how much? How much have employees given back - stop with the formula of 10% including wages, FICA, pensions etc.... Tell us what is that 10% is it all furlough days, or wage cuts? How much of their insurance premium is each group paying for> We are looking for real answers.
    PR is great - but be straight with us. We want to trust city management and city council, but there is still a ways to go.

    Anon C

  10. Maria is the ex-TPL librarian who was charged with the responsibility of "weeding" the Library's Michigan Collection. A good chunk of it now resides at the Mt. Clemens Public Library. BTW, if you offer the Anonymous posting option, expect that people will use it. If you want people to register to post, they'll do that--or not--just as they do for newspapers--or not. That's YOUR call.

  11. Pretty sure Maria had already shared with us who she is. :)

    And we are aware of the ability to allow/disallow anonymous. Doesn't mean we can't encourage you to identify yourself somehow when there are 2-3 different anonymous responders in one post.