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Bronxville Library Director Resigns

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – Bronxville Library Director Laura Eckley has resigned, just weeks after she sued the village of Bronxville for granting her a nearly $18,500 raise and then rescinding it a month later.

Her resignation, effective Feb. 3,  renders moot the lawsuit , technically known as an Article 78 petition.

Eckley is leaving to become director of the Larchmont Public Library, the library announced Thursday.

Reached Thursday, Eckley said it was a rewarding experience to serve the Bronxville community.

"It has been both a privilege and an honor to work at the Bronxville Public Library for the past 9 years," Eckley said in a telephone call. "I am very excited about my new position as the Director of the Larchmont Public Library."

Bronxville library and village officials never said publicly why the raise was rescinded. On Thursday, Kathy Mullen, president of the library board, had only praise for Eckley.

"Laura has been a true asset to our library, and we appreciate her dedication and expertise,'' Mullen said. "While we are sad to see her leave, we wish her all the best in her new endeavors."

Village Administrator Harold Porr said he had no comment on Eckley's resignation.

Library Trustee Sean Abbott, however, released a statement criticizing the board for forcing the departure of Eckley, a valued employee who had been with the library for nine years, and was named acting director in 2009 and director in 2010.

"Ms. Eckley has withdrawn her Article 78 filing. So Bronxville 'won' this one," Abbott said. "Bronxville's booby prize is embarrassment, and a diminished Library, by the forced departure of Laura Eckley to Larchmont."

Abbott adamantly opposed the village and library boards' decision to take back a raise both boards had approved for Eckley in October. The boards rescinded the raise in November.

"Laura Eckley received stellar performance evaluations from the entire Library Board," Abbott said. "It will be exceedingly difficult to replace someone so genuinely talented."

Abbott also said:

"I pointed this out repeatedly to the trustees in the course of their bizarre actions. Because who does that? Who awards a raise in October and snatches it back in November."

Without asking for a raise, Eckley received a letter in October stating her salary was raised "in recognition of your impressive and excellent work as Director of the Bronxville Library." The letter continued to praise Eckley, "Your professional and creative management of the library, your judicious oversight of spending while enhancing services to patrons, has allowed us to make this salary to you possible,"

At the time, Eckley was earning $81,640, and the raise of $18,360 would have rounded off her salary to $100,000.

After the village board passed a resolution in November to reduce the raise to $3,500 and add a stipend of just under $10,000 to be dispersed over a six month period, Eckley filed an Article 78 petition, a procedure that seeks a legal determination on whether or not the actions taken by a government board are appropriate and legal.

Eckley has withdrawn her petition, which was rendered moot by her resignation.

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