To the Editor:
Re your editorial concerning the New York Public Library [“The $800,000 Librarian,” Nov. 27]: It is important to note that, contrary to what you suggest, in no way has the library been secretive about its compensation practices. The most appropriate member of the board of trustees to speak to The New York Times on the topic was the chairman of our board’s compensation committee, who commented at length. Additionally, payments to our executives are clearly outlined in our tax returns, which are available to anyone on the Internet. With a $300 million budget and 3,000 employees, the library provides free services to 30 million in-person and online users annually from 90 locations. We must pay competitively to get the talented management necessary to run this complex organization and provide the best public service to our users.
Catherine C. Marron
Chairman, the New York Public Library
To the Editor:
Your Nov. 27 editorial, “The $800,000 Librarian,” would have been more accurately entitled “The $800,000 C.E.O.” If that had been the case, I suspect fewer eyebrows would have been raised. In fact, Mr. LeClerc is the C.E.O. of the New York Public Library system, which pays dividends to its stockholders (the users of all its branches and services) with a world-renowned print collection and a myriad of resources available online 24/7. Perhaps Mr. LeClerc’s compensation should be compared with those C.E.O.’s running some of New York City’s larger medical centers.
You mention disparagingly that “only a handful of presidents of public universities make more money” and that “they have sprawling responsibilities.” The public library has often been called “the people’s university,” and in fact Mr. LeClerc has many of the same “sprawling responsibilities.”
As a librarian, I applaud David Ferriero and his counterparts at the New York Public Library for their work and professionalism. I also appreciate that their compensation is commensurate with that of other chief executives in other fields.
I cannot comment on the silence of the New York Public Library’s board on this matter, but, as a past president of the New York Library Association (from 2004 to 2005), I felt that I must add my voice to support the library and its leaders.
Rocco A. Staino