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Committee Seeks New Director

A committee composed of library administration, board members, staff and residents to search for a new library director has been approved by the library trustees. Representing the public will be Linda Burghardt, Amy Levinson and Steven Walk. Staff members will share positions on the committee. They are: Janet Fine and Diedre Good, Nickolas Camastro, Margie Chodosch and Sandy Garrison. Interim director Laura Weir and business manager Neil Zitofsky will represent the administration and all library board members will participate. Vice-president Francine Ferrante Krupski will chair the search committee. 

Linda Burghardt is an author and journalist who is an active library patron; Amy Levinson serves on the library’s building advisory committee and was chairperson of the Safety and Transportation Committee for the United Parent Teacher Council; Steven Walk, retired from a career of merchandising and marketing for large retail chains and manufacturers, has been active in leadership positions at Temple Beth El and also serves on the library nominating committee.  

The committee is expected to fine tune the job description, advertising wordage and develop guidelines for interviews prior to conducting the interviews. The first meeting was scheduled for Feb. 26.

Board President Marietta DiCamillo said, “Our top two priorities are finding a director in a timely manner and continuing to move ahead on preparing plans to present to the community in a referendum to renovate Main.”

The board agreed that at this time, the Parkville branch renovation will consist of new carpeting, painting and relocating the children’s library to the expanded space made available by the Great Neck School District. Any major renovations will be put on hold for now. “Let’s spruce it up and make it bright and cheerful and more functional,” said DiCamillo.

Treasurer Josie Pizer announced that zero-based budgeting methodology is being used to develop the upcoming library budget which will be voted upon by the public in May.

A request for proposals (RFP)  has been developed and will be publicized as a first step to engage an owner’s representative to oversee the renovation of Main. Retaining an independent overseer was one of the recommendations that stemmed from the building advisory committee as a safeguard to advocate for the best interests of the library and the public.

The contract with the architectural firm, Kaeyer, Garment & Davidson, was approved unanimously by the board. The firm will be paid a flat fee of $25,000 for the space programming, pre-schematic and preliminary budget estimate and will be paid $60,000 for a schematic design with three options presented. In addition, they will be paid 6.2 percent of the total budget for renovation. KG&D will present three potential plans for review and after one has been selected, they will attend at least 3 public sessions to explain the plans to the public prior to the referendum. These services are covered in the flat fee. 

“We want the public to be fully informed every step of the way as we move forward on a renovation,” said president DiCamillo.

Although there are no firm budget numbers yet for a renovated building, the costs are estimated to be considerably less than the defeated referendum’s price tag of $20 million since the plans will be devised within the footprint of the building.

Board members will be attending Great Neck Village Officials Association, Chamber of Commerce and Nassau Library System meetings on a regular and rotating basis. A schedule for attendance has been developed.

In regard to the contentious negotiations with the Nassau Library System, the staff is reviewing the database systems that are purchased through the NLS and will determine if there are any that are currently under-utilized. Negotiations will continue with NLS to arrive at a fee for services that the board agrees is fair and sustainable.

The board approved a plan with Core Star for $6,518 to improve the wireless connectivity at Main which has been a major complaint of patrons. The hardware will be re-usable in a renovated building.