Tulsa Education: August 2015 Archives

Tulsa Library CEO Gary Shaffer is an overpaid, left-wing twit.

This is admittedly a snap judgement, but when I saw Shaffer's rationale for a change to the summer reading program that halved participation over the previous year (33,194 down to 16,013) I felt confident in making it.

The summer reading program has been a fun way to encourage children to keep reading and to get to know the Tulsa Library system over the three-month school break. Kids and parents keep track of the books they've read, then turn in their reading card at the end of the summer to receive toys and coupons, donated by sponsors, as rewards for completing the specified number of books.

Here's the apparent cause of the drastic drop, which cut participation to its lowest level since 1985, according to Kelly Jennings, the former coordinator of the program:

Jennings said a change of requiring a library card for each child resulted in children's groups turning away from the program, as did parents of multiple children not wanting to keep up with a lot of cards.

She said the larger groups usually opted for one card for easy tracking of the books checked out.

Shaffer's response:

Shaffer said the change was made to encourage children to get a library card, which he called a "social justice issue."

With the quoted phrase, Shaffer brands himself as a left-wing twit. "Social justice issue" is a Duckspeak phrase. It is designed not to stimulate thought and discussion but to bypass the brain and halt discussion. A public agency's policy could be debated as to its prudence and effectiveness, but as soon as it is labeled a "social justice issue," all discussion must cease. To oppose the policy is to oppose "social justice," and if you oppose social justice, you're a bad person. By using the phrase, Shaffer outs himself as a left-winger, and by using it to stop a discussion about a failure under his leadership, Shaffer outs himself as a twit.

As for overpaid:

Shaffer is an at-will employee who will now earn $171,966 annually. The raise reflects the same cost-of-living increase given to employees earlier this year. He will continue to be paid while finishing his degree.

Shaffer will take a sabbatical starting Sept. 15 and ending in mid-December. He will be paid the equivalent of two months of his salary and will also receive $1,000 for payroll deductions such as health and life insurance for the period between July 1 and Dec. 31.

Other benefits include a $450 monthly car allowance for his private vehicle and three electronic devices (cellphone, home computer and iPad) for work use....

Shaffer was hired in January 2011 at a salary of about $140,000, which was increased to $145,596 in September 2012. Three months later, he was given a raise, bringing his salary to $154,475. A year later, the commission approved a 7 percent bump in pay to $165,288.

The story mentions that he would be one of only four library CEOs in the nation with a doctorate.

We have a great, well-funded library system, with some terrific employees. I particularly appreciate the researchers who have helped me over the years. They, and the taxpayers, deserve better leadership.

A commenter on one of the Tulsa World stories described the move to individual library cards as "nothing but a membership drive. He wanted to make it look like he had increased readership big time and all it did was drive people away." Does this overpaid, left-wing twit have a bonus clause for increasing the number of active library cards?

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa Education category from August 2015.

Tulsa Education: December 2014 is the previous archive.

Tulsa Education: December 2015 is the next archive.

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