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As Layoffs Loom, Broward Librarians Turn on One Another

Broward County Library staff is bracing for a round of layoffs next month, and in the meantime anxiety and suspicion is spreading through the ranks. Who among them deserves to be spared? And who deserves to go?

One Broward County Library worker told Juice of a recent conversation she had with a coworker claiming immunity from the scourge. "I'm not worried about getting laid off," the librarian allegedly boasted. "I have seniority." And in a disclosure she may have regretted, the librarian said that she had retired last year after some three decades of service, triggering her pension, only to be rehired so that she still collects a wage.

"This pissed me off," said her fellow worker, who asked to remain anonymous. "She's getting her retirement and still working while other people who have been here seven or ten years are worried for their job."

That sounds like the notorious DROP program: A big dollop of generosity for Florida's tax-paid employees that recalls a less-savage era in the economy. The librarian who phoned Juice opined that such double dippers "should be the first to go," and it's hard to argue with the logic, even if it's a difficult policy to execute in practice.

She adds that the library has already slashed programs -- free computer classes, after-school activities for teenagers and younger kids. The libraries have also shortened their hours. And workers are likely to be required to take five-day unpaid furloughs. Our source has heard that the September layoffs will claim 60 to 80 library employees.

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Thomas Francis

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