More changes: Two top library executives leaving

Trustees hire former Bank of America exec as interim director

by Frank DeLoache

Charles Brown, the director of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg library system, announced suddenly Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 19, that he will resign, effective June 30.

At an earlier meeting of the library system’s board of trustees Wednesday, officials also announced that the consolidation of library and county services has resulted in elimination of the library’s director of organization resources. Brian Beavers, the current director, will leave the library system on Feb. 5.

With the executive shakeup, the system will save up to $50,000 in executive compensation in 2011, according to library documents.

The trustees have hired former Bank of America executive Vick Phillips as the library system’s interim director.

Brown’s salary is $170,974 a year, and he received an $800 monthly auto allowance and benefit package equal to $56,079, according to the documents. He will take a 20 percent pay cut for the final three months of work.

Beavers was paid $84,978 in salary and $27,872 in benefits.

Phillips will received $13,000 a month in salary and $1,500 to cover health benefits. If he stays an entire year, his total compensation will be nearly $174,000.

Robin Branstorm, chairwoman of the library’s board of trustees, announced Brown’s resignation at a Wednesday afternoon press conference. She told reporters and a group of library employees that the board is creating “a new business model that will work in this economic environment” and has “rebuilt our budget from the bottom up.”

But she and Phillips, who once served as chief of staff for former Bank of America Chairman and CEO Hugh McColl, did not say how the model might change. A citizen task force is studying the library system and expects to make a recommendation to the trustees and Board of County Commissioners by March 1, and Jim Woodward, chairman of the task force, attended Wednesday’s press conference.

In a separate press release, library officials said Phillips, at the request of Foundation For The Carolinas and to assist the citizen task force, recently completed preliminary work for a diagnostic analysis of the library. In doing so, he met with stakeholders from the library, Mecklenburg County and the task force.

The release does not elaborate on Phillips’ findings.

Brown has served as director of the system for seven years, during which time the system opened its nationally acclaimed ImaginOn facility for young readers. But last year, Brown also had to manage the loss of more than a third of the system’s budget and lay off more than 180 employees. The library has closed three locations, will close Freedom Regional Library this spring and cut operating hours by 50 percent.

The cutbacks, especially the loss of so many employees, “was personally and professionally heartbreaking for me,” Brown said. “It seems like an opportune time for me to move on.”

Phillips “is a proven leader with a deep appreciation for the rigors of change management,” Branstrom said in the library statement. “We are fortunate to have attracted such strong management talent on an interim basis as we develop a new fiscal year budget and prepare to implement the task force recommendations.”

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