Detroit cancels library closings

May 20, 2011 at 4:23 PM

DETROIT, May 20 (UPI) -- The Detroit Public Library is canceling plans to close as many as 18 branches and lay off most staff members because of a math error, officials said.

Tim Cromer, chief administrative officer for the library system, said the closure list was scaled back after officials discovered an error in tax collection estimates. Officials found their budget did not factor in savings from 70 layoffs and retirements during spring, The Detroit News reported Friday.

Cromer said he is "willing to take the heat" for the mistake and he "just wants the correct information out."

"Detroit Public Library staff need their jobs and citizens of Detroit need their libraries," Cromer said.

Michael Wells, president of United Auto Workers Local 2200, which represents about 120 library staffers, referred to the situation as "amateur hour."

"This is quite crazy," he said. "Every time the numbers change I feel like I am playing three card monte and I am not even on the streets of New York."

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