Grass-roots advocates rallying in support of the Rockford Public Library should have no problem getting a referendum on the ballot in the next general election.
State statutes (75 ILCS 5/3-3) for that process have been in place since 1965. Instead of the sleazy back-door borrowing scheme, the library could have used a referendum to fund the new East Side Branch. They should have asked for taxpayers’ approval.
That would have avoided the current dire financial tribulations and impending layoffs of hard-working employees during this grim recession period.
If the referendum failed, layoffs could still be avoided if all employees would voluntarily fund their own pensions, and take the 7 percent pay cut proposed for others in the public sector.
Most library patrons would willingly compromise on reduced hours, higher fines/fees, less Wii, less story hour, less bilingual outreach, and less hula lessons. Accepting pay cuts would save jobs, without any help from the President and his Czars.
From the November 18-24, 2009 issue