February 17, 2018

LSSI Contract in TN Would be a Loss Leader

By LJ Staff

The Jackson-Madison County Library Board, has agreed to negotiate a contract with Library Systems and Services LLC (LSSI) to manage the library, but not everyone at a recent meeting was on board. Library Board Chair Kathryn Swindle asked LSSI president Frank Pezzanite about the benefits package.  "In a commercial sense, there are fairly rich benefits," he said, according to the Jackson Sun. "But it falls short in that there is no pension system. But we do have a 401(k) system."

Thomas Aud, who will retire next month as library director, asked Pezzanite about the company’s management fee, in either percentage or dollar terms. Pezzanite said that the company, which is private, chooses not to make that public. "The first year of this contract, we won’t have a profit," he said. "But the goal is to make a profit. It should be irrelevant (to the public) if we have a profit. We build in efficiencies. And if we do it cheaper, we have a right to take the profit."

Charles Doss, a patron, told LSSI even if their management fee is "none of our business, you’re going to have to be accountable to us." He followed up by picketing the library the next morning to protest the board’s decision to contract with a private company. He told the Sun he was concerned about the failure to acknowledge the fee. "They’ll take donations and grants and taxpayers’ money and do whatever they want with it? That’s simply not the truth."