CARLISLE — The Cumberland County Library System’s board of directors has approved consultant Monica Gould to help resolve ongoing differences between the county commissioners and the county library system, executive director Jonelle Darr said Wednesday.
Differences over what services the system should provide at what cost became apparent in 2013 when the commissioners did not act on a library system request to increase the 0.143-mill library tax. County chief clerk Larry Thomas recommended the facilitated discussions this summer, saying they provided the best chance to reach a consensus on how to maintain essential library services through the next three years without a tax increase.
The commissioners authorized a request-for-proposals for a facilitator in August. They are scheduled to vote on approving the contract with Gould at a meeting Monday.
Gould, who works for Mechanicsburg-based Strategic Consulting Partners, would be paid $7,500 under the agreement to hold facilitated staff meetings and public meetings with county commissioners and help develop a consensus, Darr said.
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The final details of the process have not yet been finalized, but Gould agreed to cap the cost at $7,500 and provide some of the work as a donation, Darr said. The cost of the facilitator will be split between the library system and Cumberland County, and requires approval of both boards.
“We’re excited about it. It’s a great opportunity to talk about libraries and their role in today’s society,” Darr said. “There will be a number of public meetings on different topics, and a lot more information to come.”
The facilitator’s work will probably begin in late November or early December, with a series of formal public meetings with the commissioners likely to take place early next year, she said. The process is expected to be completed by spring 2015, she said.
Three facilitators responded to the request for proposals, and Gould was selected by a committee of representatives from both the library system and the county after interviews and reference checks on the two less expensive candidates, Thomas said at a commissioners workshop meeting Thursday.
County commissioner Gary Eichelberger — the commissioners’ liaison to the library board — said Gould is a Certified Management Consultant, the “gold standard” for management consultants.
“If everybody’s participating fully, I think we’re going to have a good process, and I’m looking forward to that,” Eichelberger said.