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Springfield Library Director To Leave For Summit

By on Feb 18 2013.
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Springfield Free Public Library

Springfield Free Public Library

In January, the Summit Free Public Library Board of Trustees announced they had named Susan Permahos as the new director effective March 4, 2013.  The position had been vacant since Glenn Devitt announced he would retire on November 9, 2012.  Devitt had been employed by Summit since 1987 and earned a salary of approximately $129,000 in 2011.

Permahos leaves her post as the Director of the Springfield Free Public Library after almost 20 years. She was earning nearly $102,000.  An aggressive search led Summit to Permahos.  She was offered a higher salary and the annual library budget in Summit is more than double that of Springfield.  In 2012, the Springfield Municipal Library tax levy was $943, 012 or 1.35% of the property tax bill.  Under New Jersey law, local libraries must receive a minimum funding of a third of a mil, or $33 for every $100,000 of a municipalities total equalized valuation.  In 2011, New Jersey property taxpayers saw a new dedicated line item on their bills for municipal libraries.  Previously, this same levy was combined with the line item for local municipal purposes unlike county libraries but was changed with the 2011 passage of A-2679/S-2068 sponsored by Assemblyman Upendra J. Chivukula (D-17), Assemblyman Ruben J. Ramos, Jr. (D-33), Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D=37), Assemblyman Fredrick Scalera (D-36) and Senator Nia Gill (D-34).

According to a source, Permahos provided notice to the Springfield Library Board of Trustees in private at the end of 2012.  Her departure comes as a surprise to many Springfield officials who expressed concern about finding an equally qualified replacement.  She is credited with introducing significant changes to the Springfield Library and modernizing many services with the introduction of new technology.  She has received much praise for a number of building renovations and for obtaining grant funds to supplement the library budget.

In New Jersey, there are over 200 municipal public libraries.  They are governed by independent boards of trustees consisting of members appointed by the municipal governing body.  The Springfield Free Public Library Board of Trustees meets on the third Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m. and meetings are open to the public.  The Board has established a Search Committee tasked with finding a replacement for Permahos.  Library insiders expect that an interim director will be needed until a permanent director is selected.

The Springfield Free Public Library will celebrate its 81st anniversary on March 18, 2013.

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