Monday, Feb 26th

Library Board Issues Response to Complaints from Former Part Time Employee

ShittyPerhaps you have noticed an unusual site around Scarsdale – a protestor who pickets at many local events and frequents the Village and the library. She has made her presence known at Library and Village Board meetings and we spotted her this month at concerts in the Village, and even at a meeting of the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale. In addition to picketing, Stettnisch has emailed Village Trustees, the Library Board, the Mayor and local officials.

For those who have not engaged with her, Robin Stettnisch is a former part-time employee of Scarsdale Library whose job was eliminated when the library closed for renovation in 2018.

As a part time employee her job was not protected by the union and according to a 9/26 statement from the Library Board, “The decision to reduce the part-time workforce was made after considering the financial consequences on impacted employees as well as the Library's fiduciary obligations. The Library's workforce reductions were made in close consultation with the Library staff's union, the Civil Service Employee Association, and conformed to all Westchester County Civil Service rules.”

And even Stettnisch seems to recognize that she has no legal claim against the library. The signs on her car say, “Shitty But Legal,” indicating that she finds her treatment “shitty” but that the Library followed the law in eliminating her job.

But here’s where to the two stories diverge:

Stettnisch says that Library Director Elizabeth Bermel “gave me her word that I would get my job and salary back when the newly renovated library reopened.”

The Library Board statement says, “No part-time employee, including Ms. Stettnisch, was promised to be rehired at their previous salary after the completion of the renovations. Despite Ms. Stettnisch's repeated public assertions of a verbal promise from Ms. Bermel, this simply did not happen.”

How many hours did she work for the library? The Board’s statement says, “While she had been employed at the Library in various positions since 1988, she was a part-time employee on and off from 2001-2018 working an average of 3.5 hours per week.”

However Stettnisch reviews only her hours from the last two years of her employment and says, “In 2017, before the library closed, I earned $21,156 which averages 9.27 hours per week. In 2018 the library was open for 6 months and I earned $13,431 which averages 11.77 hours per week.”

What is she asking for?

The Library Board statement says, “Ms. Stettnisch has demanded from the Library that she will stop picketing in exchange for $1.8 million (source: Stettnisch email 3/14/22). She has also written that she will not stop picketing unless she is rehired at her previous salary plus a raise, paid retroactively for all of the years that she did not work for the Library, given gas money for her travel to and from picketing, and compensated for the cost of her picket signs (source: Stettnisch email 6/29/22).”

But Stettnisch now says the $1.8 mm statement was a “tongue in cheek” comment. She explains, “Scarsdale Public Library Board met on 3-14-22 (after 7 months of them still completely ignoring me) and I attended on Zoom. The Library announced they had a $1.8 million dollar surplus and the Board was absolutely ecstatic! They were falling all over themselves congratulating SPL Director Beth Bermel on her wonderful achievement! They were joyously brainstorming ideas about what could be done with all that extra money that Beth saved....

And so, I reminded them that part of the $1.8 million dollar surplus was there because of what was so unethically, immorally and heartlessly done to the staff... I pointed out that what they saw as "fiscally responsible" was indeed "morally reprehensible". I pointed out they shouldn't be rejoicing over money saved if it was saved by intentionally hurting long term employees and their families.

That is where the $1.8 million dollar "tongue in cheek" statement came from. And the Board knows that. Just another failed attempt to purposely, deceitfully, mislead the residents of Scarsdale.”

What does she really want? Stettnisch says, “I started out over 1 year ago in August 2021 asking the Library Board, the Mayor, and the Village Board, simply for my job and salary back as promised by Beth. I simply asked them to stand up and do the right thing. And they all chose, and still do, to completely ignore me. Heartless.”

We asked Stettnisch if she plans to continue her campaign but she did not reply to our question.

See statements from the Library Board and Stettnisch here.

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