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Bronxville Gets Time to Respond to Library Lawsuit

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – The Village of Bronxville won a two-week adjournment Monday in a civil suit brought by the director of the Bronxville Library.

Laura Eckley filed suit against the village after the village board first raised her salary in October, then rescinded the raise a month later. Court papers filed this past Dec. 15 required the village to respond by the end of this week.

Eckley is seeking the salary increase to be restored. In October, the Bronxville Village Board voted unanimously to raise Eckley's salary to $100,000 per year, an increase of about $18,500.

Village Administrator Harold Porr acknowledged the village had indeed received notice of a lawsuit and had sought more time to respond to the statements made in the filing. But Porr said the village cannot comment on pending litigation.

According to the lawsuit, the library board sent Eckley 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 read. "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,"

But a few weeks later at its November meeting, the village board voted that although it had unanimously acknowledged "Eckley's superb service to the library," they were going to rescind that raise.

Instead, Eckley was given a $3,500 raise for the year, and a bonus of $7,406 to be disbursed in six equal monthly payments.

Eckley declined comment but her attorney, Anthony Pirotti, called the actions of the board "ridiculous and disgraceful."

"Laura Eckley did not seek a raise from the village," Pirotti said. "She was rewarded a raise by the board because of the very good job she does. Then without any change in her performance or any other circumstances that would merit such a change, the board took the raise away."

Eckley has worked at the Bronxville Library for nine years, and was named acting director in 2009. She became the permanent director in 2010.

She supervises approximately 31 employees and oversaw 750 programs and events at the library in 2011.

When she was made probationary director, Eckley was paid $81,640 according to court documents. Those same documents state that her promotion to director would bring a salary increase to $100,000, putting her into the same salary bracket as other department heads in the village.

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