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Former Library Director Heads for Ventura County

By Judith Scherr
Tuesday October 03, 2006

Embattled former Berkeley Library Director Jackie Griffin, whose attorney threatened to sue the Berkeley Public Library if its trustees fired Griffin, is poised to become the next director of the Ventura County library system. 

Today (Tuesday) the Ventura Board of Supervisors is slated to approve an employment contract with Griffin for $141,804. (Her annual salary in Berkeley was $131,494.) Ventura County will also provide Griffin with a housing allowance not to exceed $25,000 and reimbursement of moving expenses up to $7,000. She will also receive a benefits package and a car allowance, the amounts of which are not stipulated in the contract. 

In an agreement with the Berkeley Board of Library Trustees, signed in June by both Griffin and her attorney Jonathan Siegel, Griffin promised not to sue the city. She was permitted to stay on the city payroll using accrued vacation time until the end of June. And she was paid $34,000, equal to three months salary, given airfare and hotel expenses for a library conference in New Orleans for $1,500 and received medical benefits for six months equal to $6,200.  

Jim Fisher of SuperBOLD, Berkeleyans Organizing for Library Defense, a critic of Griffin’s push for RFID (radio frequency identification chips embedded in books for check-out purposes), said he thought it was interesting that Griffin would go from Berkeley to a conservative area such as Ventura. 

“If they’re looking for a technician, that’s what they’re going to get,” he said.