Toronto Public Library's Weirdest Board Member Resigns

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Toronto Public Library’s Weirdest Board Member Resigns

Stephen Dulmage wrote a resignation letter that perfectly sums up who he was to TPL.

Stephen Dulmage was appointed to Toronto Public Library’s board of directors last September, along with a slate of new citizen members brought in by Mayor Rob Ford’s administration to replace the previous, more left-leaning group.

Dulmage, a businessman and chartered accountant, quickly distinguished himself as the library board’s resident arch-conservative, sometimes outdoing even Ford’s executive committee members—three of whom are on the board—in his enthusiasm for budget cuts. (Once, during a cost-saving exercise, he publicly suggested closing 38 library branches.) He also had a tendency to behave oddly during meetings. In at least one instance, he spent the better part of a high-profile debate with his swivel chair spun around so that his back was facing the conference table. He appeared to be studying a map of Toronto that is mounted to the wall of the board room at the Toronto Reference Library.

At the beginning of May, he tendered his resignation from the board. The letter of explanation he sent to board chair Councillor Paul Ainsile (Ward 43, Scarborough East) is, well… everything you’d expect from a man who once wore a fake bullet wound to thwart an assassination plot of which he was the target. It is bizarre.

The letter just surfaced as part of a Civic Appointments Committee agenda. (It is a public document though the City Clerk’s office hasn’t put it online.) We have an annotated copy of it for you after the jump.

From: Steve Dulmage
To: Paul Ainslie
Date: 5/2/2012 8:05 am
Subject: TPL

Hi Paul

I resign as a Director. [1]

After 6 months as a Director, I see that the Board has no will for needed change. TPL is a $165,000,000 annual burden [2] for City Taxpayers [3] which could easily be done for $100,000,000, stuck with a bricks and mortar model when people now go online to search for books [4]. 2 consultant reports have told us we have too many branches [5] and in fact there are 3 times as many branches south of St Clair as compared to north of St Clair [6]!

The Branches have been turned into Community Centres offering programmes and services duplicating other Government Agencies [7]… Toronto already has 200 Community Centres [8] !!

I could go on with a long list of other problems and misdirections [9] …but won’t as you know of them.

steve

keep moving forward !!

Stephen Dulmage BA, CA [10]
2603-2181 Yonge St
Toronto M4S 3H7
416 485 9082

1 – So far, so good.

2 – Well, the amount, at any rate, is pretty much correct.

3 – Dulmage respects taxpayers by capitalizing them inappropriately.

4 – Toronto Public Library has seen circulation rise almost every year since amalgamation. E-books are the fastest-growing borrowing category, but they still only make up about 1.6 per cent of all items checked out.

5 – Consultant reports from KPMG and DPRA Canada, both commissioned by the City in 2011, said that TPL could close or consolidate branches for savings, sure. But consider this: even if TPL were to go ahead and consolidate 14 to 15 branches, the savings in 2013, according to DPRA, would be something like $3.7 million. That’s real money, but it’s not the $65,000,000 in savings Dulmage thinks “could easily be done.”

6 – So, now we’re arguing for more branches?

7 – The shift key is Not a Toy.

8 – What Did I Just Say?

9 – Yes, there were some misdirections in this letter.

10 – He’s a certified accountant, which might explain why Ford’s civic appointments committee took a liking to him in the first place.

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