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Union talks cast shadow over library vote

Stalled contract negotiations at Huntington Public Library may be the defining topic in Tuesday's library trustee election and budget vote.

Two candidates, including the incumbent, seek the single seat carrying a five-year term that is up for election. The library proposes an $8.6-million budget for 2011-12, up 2.7 percent from the current $8.2-million budget. Residents would see a 2.76-percent increase in their library tax bill, library officials said.

While the five-member board acknowledges the proposed increase is high compared with recent budgets, it's unavoidable because of increasing benefits costs, the MTA payroll tax and a reduction in state aid.

Trustees have not had much luck in contract negotiations with the union representing librarians, clerical workers, custodians, and security guards whose contract expired June 30.

Trustee Charles "Chuck" Rosner called the challenger for his seat, Andy Jarmolowski, a "union-recruited, selected and supported candidate." He also said Jarmolowski lied about his education on his candidate's biography.

"The library cannot afford the demands being made by the union," Rosner, 72, said. "The demands are being made with little regard for the library's finances and the economic environment in which we now live."

According to Rosner, the union wants a four-year contract with pay increases of 3 percent for the first two years plus 2.5 percent step increases each year; a 3.5-percent increase the third year, plus a 2.5-percent step increase; and a 4.75-percent increase the fourth year, plus the 2.5-percent step increase.

Rosner said the library offered salary increases of 2.5 percent with no step.

Rich Impagliazzo, spokesman for the Long Island region of CSEA, the union representing about 90 library workers, said the board offered no increase.

"I don't know what unreasonable demands they're talking about," he said. "If you are looking for a fair bargaining session, zero is a bad place to start." He acknowledges backing Jarmolowski.

On Jarmolowski's biography, he lists receiving a bachelor's degree in English from Rutgers University in 1989. But a woman at the registrar's office there said an Andy Jarmolowski attended the school for a year in 1985, but did not receive a degree.

Jarmolowski, 44, could not be reached for comment about his academic history. In an earlier interview about the budget, the bookstore manager said he does not know the particulars of negotiations. But he says while having the support of the union, he does not feel he is "union recruited."

He touts his experience as a private-sector manager with extensive budgeting, human resources, and customer-services background as skills needed for the job.

"My opponent is a very qualified individual and I would not take that away from him," Jarmolowski said. "But I have been an active patron of the library."

The vote is Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the main branch, 338 Main St.

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