Library system sets minimum salary for new director at $120K

The next director of the Timberland Regional Library District will make at least $120,000 in annual salary. That doesn’t include the potential perks for a travel allowance, cell phone allowance, moving expenses and everything else that could come, as well.

The “floor amount” for the next library director means it’s an automatic $5,000 bump over the amount the district already pays Acting Director Gwen Culp, who gets $115,000 per year.

The Timberland Regional Library Board of Trustees met in Ilwaco last week and approved the salary minimum, noting that it could climb even higher depending on the qualifications of the candidates.

Board member Edna Fund, who represents Lewis County, was the only member to vote against the increase, saying she didn’t feel comfortable raising the lowest possible salary offered past what Culp was already making.

Board members asked their general counsel if they could discuss general salary requirements in executive session, but the attorney said that wouldn’t qualify as an executive session item since they’re talking about general policy.

The Board of Trustees has hired a professional headhunter to help find the best pool of candidates for the position. The consultant originally asked the board to set the salary minimum at $125,000 and not to put a cap on it.

Board members reduced that amount to $120,000, but still didn’t put a cap on how high the salary could go.

Board member Corby Varness, who represents Grays Harbor, said she feels comfortable with a minimum salary of $120,000.

“I’m a little concerned about cost of living,” she said during the meeting, arguing against lowering the minimum salary any lower. “If a person lives in Montesano they have a chance at buying a home,” Varness said. “In Olympia, I can’t see that happening if they live anywhere near the service center ” in Tumwater.

Varness, who is on the hiring committee, said on Tuesday that they hope to do some interviews in November and have a final candidate selected by the end of the year.

Advertisements for the new position should be going out soon, she said.

The board of trustees terminated former director Michael Crose in April, largely over communication issues. They replaced Crose with Culp, who has said she’s not interested in applying for the permanent director’s job. Crose was making $115,000 per year plus a $700-a-month car allowance.