Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
4:30 PM at Meeting Room, RFPL, Bellows Falls, VT
Staff in attendance: Mary Van Hartesveldt, Emily Zervas and Samantha Maskell.
Public attendees: Kathy Michel, David DeRusha, Steve Geller, Bob DeRusha, Ian Eddy, Arnold Clift, David Gould, Joel Love and Celina Houlne.
Press in attendance: Domenic Poli (Brattleboro Reformer).
1. Call to order at 4:35pm by Jan Mitchell-Love.
2. Public Comment: None
3. Approve minutes of December 10th, 2013 trustees’ meeting; January 3rd special meeting; and January 7th special meeting: Carolyn Frisa made a motion to pass the December 10, 2013 minutes after fixing the typographical error of “baggig” to “bagging” under #8. This motion seconded by Deb Wright passed with 7 in favor, none opposed. Hope Brissette made a motion to pass the January 3, 2014 minutes after changing the misspelling of Elayne under #6. This motion, seconded by Carolyn Frisa, passed with 6 in favor, 1 abstention. Hope Brissette made a motion to approve the January 7, 2014 minutes after deleting “2 minutes per person; 15 minute time period for all public comments” under #2. This motion, seconded by Pat Fowler, passed with 6 in favor, 1 abstention.
4. Update on new library director job posting/Search Committee formation: Jan Mitchell-Love reports an excellent pool of candidates so far; all applicants have post-graduate degrees, and most have a MLS. Elayne Clift read a letter concerning the hiring of a new library director, with specific concerns of a pending lawsuit by the previous director seeking rehiring.
(1 minute recess 4:53pm. Resume meeting 4:54pm)
Deb Wright made a motion to task the Personnel Committee with selecting the Search Committee members, which will review and evaluate applications, interview viable candidates, and make a final recommendation to the board on someone to hire, motion seconded by Hope Brissette. After discussion Deb Wright and Hope Brissette accepted the friendly amendment that the Personnel Committee will put together a list for the Search Committee and bring it to the next board meeting on January 21, 2014. This motion passed with 6 in favor, 1 opposed. Any suggestions should be sent to the Personnel Committee.
5. Librarians’ Monthly Report:
a. Report: Emily Zervas and Sam Maskell thanked all the volunteers that helped to shelve the book collection. The end panels have been installed. The library is doing a Food For Fines food drive, donations going to Our Place Drop-In Center. The Board thanked Emily Zervas and Mary Van Hartesveldt for an excellent presentation of the budget to the Selectboard. Emily Zervas encouraged the Board to meet with the Selectboard and Chip Stearns to discuss the renovation overruns before the annual meeting. Jan Mitchell-Love will contact the Selectboard to set up a meeting.
b. Financial Reports: Mary Van Hartesveldt presented and responded to questions about the budget.
c. Other: Emily Zervas requested that we use donated funds to purchase computer tables for the adult section and 1 ADA compliant table for microfilm and Internet access. Deb Wright made a motion to approve expenditure of $5030.00 from donated funds for the purchase of ADA compliant and non-compliant stations. This motion, seconded by Paige Pietrzak, passed with 7 in favor, none opposed. Sam Maskell requested that we use donated funds to purchase a story-time rug for the youth department. Pat Fowler made a motion to allow funds, not to exceed $700, from the Whitcomb donation to purchase a rug for the youth department. This motion, seconded by Hope Brissette, passed with 7 in favor, none opposed.
6. Committee Reports
a. Building – Hope Brissette: The Building Committee is planning a meeting with the neighbors to resolve issues. Also discussed concerns of the lack of ability to monitor activities in the third floor vestibule and bathrooms. Emily Zervas will look into the cost of rekeying the bathroom doors. Hope Brissette will research possible regulations involving monitoring and bathroom access.
b. Communication – discuss committee
c. Finance – Deb Wright
Reinvestment of annuity: Pat Fowler discussed the need to reinvest the annuity and would like approval for the Finance Committee to reinvest. Deb Wright made a motion to allow the Treasurer to reinvest the money as Mary Van Hartesveldt and Pat Fowler have discussed, seconded by Hope Brissette. Carolyn Frisa made a friendly amendment to allow the Treasurer to invest the minimum necessary to attain the greatest interest on the annuity account previously recommended through People’s Bank. Friendly amendment accepted by Deb Wright and Hope Brissette. This motion passed with 5 in favor, 3 opposed. Pat Fowler will make sure this investment is FDIC insured.
(Pat Fowler leaves 7:10)
Attorney bills update: Tabled until Ray Massucco is present.
Compensation to staff for extra duties: September 2013 onward: Carolyn Frisa made the motion that we approve a 15% pay increase as well as two additional comp. time days per month for Emily Zervas and Sam Maskell, and that we approve a 10% pay increase for Mary Van Hartesveldt and Ellen Allman, retroactive to September 18, 2013 until the new director’s start day, with the understanding that staff duties and salaries will be reevaluated at that time. This motion, seconded by Paige Pietrzak, passed with 5 in favor, 1 abstention.
Part-time staff benefits: personal leave and sick leave: The Finance Committee does not have a recommendation regarding part-time staff benefits. The finances are not extremely significant, approximately $4,000. (Deb Wright leaves 7:37.) Tabled until February Trustees meeting.
d. Historical Collection – Carolyn Frisa – update
e. Policy – Reminder: bylaws meeting (for all trustees) on January 21st, 2014 at 4:30p.m. Committee appointments and the bylaws: Elayne Clift read a letter to the Trustees concerning the board (see attached), and made a motion to suspend Bylaws discussion until a new Board is seated following March elections. This motion, seconded by Carolyn Frisa, failed with 2 in favor, 3 opposed and 1 abstention. This meeting will include the additions of the presentation by the Personnel Committee of suggested Search Committee members for approval by the Board and security in the third floor including the cost of rekeying the locks.
f. Personnel – Jan M-L
7. Old Business
a. 2014 workshop with Amy Howlett – discuss venue: Elayne Clift suggested moving the workshop until after the next board is seated and stated that Amy Howlett thought we should wait. Jan Mitchell-Love will email Amy to ask. The workshop will take place in the RFPL meeting room.
b. Correspondence – Highway Department thank you/Attorney General letter on Open Meeting Law
8. Review agenda items for next meeting. Current meeting date is Tuesday, February 11th at 4:30 p.m. in RFPL’s Meeting Room. Unfinished agenda items, from the Part-time benefits on, with the exception of 7a, will be tabled until the next regular Trustees meeting.
9. Executive Session (if necessary)
10. Trustees’ Comments
11. Adjourn: Motion to adjourn made by Hope Brissette at 8:01, seconded by Paige Pietrzak, passed unanimously.
Minutes respectfully submitted by Secretary Laura Senes on January 19, 2014.
Letter read by Elayne Clift
“Re: By-laws: On Jan. 9th I sent to all Trustees a lengthy document suggesting multiple revisions to the existing by-laws. This document represented many hours of work and a great deal of time and energy spent in the interest of developing a meaningful “working manual” for future Trustees of the Library. Sharing it ahead of the next meeting was the courteous and professional thing to do. It was my hope that my colleagues would read and consider it before our next meeting.
On Jan. 10the I received an email from Vice-Chair Deb Wright accusing me of being “self-aggrandizing,” “pretentious,” and “foisting this material on to all trustees.” In that email she refused to read the document “until [I] bring it to the meeting.”
This is not the first email of its kind that I’ve received from Ms. Wright (and I might add another Trustee) and frankly; I’m tired of them. Messages like this are rude, insulting, and unacceptable. No Trustee should be subjected to such discourtesy and lack of respect from another. This particular tone is striking insofar as Ms. Wright is seeking another term as Trustee.
It is clear that my recommendations will not be considered by Ms. Wright, or indeed by some other Trustees, although they are worthy of serious discussion. I therefore am left with no alternative than to Move that By-law revisions be tabled until such time as a new board is seated following March elections.”