TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10th, 2013
5:00 PM at Village Square Booksellers, Bellows Falls
In Attendance: Jan Mitchell-Love, Hope Brissette, Ray Massucco, David Buckley, Deb Wright, Paige Pietrzak, Pat Fowler, Laura Senes and Célina Houlné.
Public attendees: Willis D. “Chip” Stearns, II, Duane Whitehead, Mary Van Hartesveldt, Betty Haggerty, Deirdre Fuchs, Wendy Kress, Emily Zervas, and Joel Love.
1. Call to order at 5:04 pm
2. Public Comment – Betty Haggerty read a letter signed by members of the FOL written in support of library director Célina Houlné. Letter attached as requested.
3. Approve minutes of August 12th, 2013 trustees’ meeting-Hope Brissette made a motion to approve the minutes of 8/12/13 and to include the director’s report of 8/7/13. This motion, seconded by Deb Wright, passed unanimously.
4. Renovation/moving update from Chip Stearns-We received a full certificate of occupancy yesterday. Some vendors will need to come back and do training on new systems. The projected budget overage will be $50,000-$70,000, money the town hopes to recoup. Members of the board and public thank Chip for all his hard work in helping to complete the renovation project.
5. Director’s Monthly Report-9/6/2013 Director’s report included in minutes. Holiday Party is planned for December 7th.
Financial Reports-It is early in the fiscal year, and we are waiting for final reports for FY13.
6. Committee Reports
a. Building – Hope Brissette-The Building Committee will meet to help plan the move. The sign is rotting and needs to be replaced. The new sign will be double sided and turned sideways. Frank Hawkins is working on a plan. The antique clock needs to be cleaned; the estimated cost is $1000.
b. Communications – no report
c. Finance – Deb Wright-Deb Wright made a motion to instruct the treasurer to sign the attorney’s bill to pay the for services incurred. This motion, seconded by Hope Brissette, passed with 5 in favor, 2 opposed and one abstention.
Deb Wright made a motion that any costs that could be included in the renovation budget should be moved into the renovation budget, such as money spent on library relocation costs, rent, propane, attorney’s fees, and related items. This motion, seconded by Ray Massucco passed unanimously.
The Finance Committee will meet on 9/19/13 at 9:00AM to review the financial impact of the changes made in the currently rescinded 2012 Personnel Policy.
d. Historical Collection – Pat Fowler reports Carolyn Frisa will be chair of the committee and Emily Zervas will be secretary. We received a grant for display cases on the first floor. Discussing a special exhibition for the grand reopening of the library. Next meeting is scheduled for 10/2/13 9:00AM at Works on Paper.
e. Policy – next meeting is Tuesday, September 17th, 5 p.m.
f. Personnel-Continuation of 8/29/13 special meeting to take place 9/18/13 9:00AM in third floor of town hall.
7. Old Business
a. Staffing – discuss open position, etc.-Review of Job description for Programming/Community Relations Librarian. Célina Houlné will remove part -ime benefits of pro-rated personal and sick leave from the description. Ray Massucco makes a motion to authorize Célina Houlné to fill the position of Programming/Community Relations Librarian, to place advertisements as appropriate for positions of this type, interview and hire. This motion, seconded by David Buckley, passed with 8 votes in favor.
b. 2008 Personnel Policy- The board will meet after the Finance Committee meeting meets and provides financial guidance.
8. New Business
a. Communications — discuss recent correspondence, etc.-Jim Mitchell asked if the Board of Trustees had any knowledge of the agenda item to remove handicapped parking from in front of the library to be discussed at the 9/10/13 Bellows Falls Village Trustees meeting. The board was unaware of this agenda item.
9. Review agenda items for next meeting and meeting date. Current meeting date is Tuesday, October 8th at 4:30 p.m.
10. Executive Session (personnel)-Not needed at this time. Will schedule executive session for 10/18/13 9:00 AM at the Town Hall.
11. Public Comment – Joel Love thanked the board for its decision to close the library.
12. Directors’ Comments
13. Adjourn- Paige Pietrzak made a motion to adjourn at 7:10, seconded by Ray Massucco, all in favor.
These minutes respectfully submitted by Laura Senes, September 17, 2013.
* Emily and Sam continued to work out some of the kinks in the VOKAL migration.
* Emily reviewed technology layout and fiber delivery for renovated library.
* Sam begun planning for youth programs in the renovated library.
* Emily provided reference services at the Windham County Historical Fair.
* Staff members have been covering for each other as we’ve been taking vacation.
* I prepared for and attended the monthly board meeting, Special Board meeting, Historical Collections Committee meeting and the Building Committee meeting.
* I worked on the preliminary FY13 budget report. * I arranged for Chip to give the staff a tour through the renovated building. * I worked on layout plans for the collections and offices in the renovated library. * I’ve been working on my response to my annual evaluation by the Personnel Committee. Programs
* Upcoming fall programs: Bully – this is a collaboration with several organizations and will include multiple screenings of the documentary around the community.
* School visits will be happening when we’re settled in the new space, and Youth Services will have storytimes, afterschool programs, family programs and Halloween programs.
* BFUHS Literary Kick-Off: The book we’ve been reading is “The Last Shot” by Darcy Frey, we will be hosting documentary screenings of related films in the fall and the winter. More information to be announced.
* September is Library Card sign-up month; students in K-12 have until Sept 20th to show their card at the Library to enter into a drawing to win a $10 gift certificate to the Village Square Booksellers.
Building * I met with the Building Committee and Ray was given some questions to ask Chip.
* The town manager is finishing up the punch list and once the inspection is complete we’ll be emptying the trailers and begin setting back up.
* Eric Clark will resume mowing the lawn.
* August’s end-of the month financial reports: we are just two months into FY14 and there is not anything notable to report.
* A preliminary FY13 budget analysis has been done and will be emailed to you.
* Auditors have been reviewing FY13 financial records for the last two weeks so we may have a final FY13 report next month, which will depend on the town manager.
* When town buildings get looked at for insurance purposes this fall, the library will be appraised at that time.
* The Friends of the Library will have a table at SEVCA’s Annual Flea Market on September 28 and will be selling raffle tickets, drawing to be held at the holiday party on December 7.
An open letter to the Rockingham Free Public Library Board of Trustees
At a meeting of the Friends of the Rockingham Library on September 4, 2013, members present were shocked to learn that on August 29, 2013, the Personnel Committee of the Rockingham Free Public Library Board of Trustees recommended to the Trustees the dismissal of Célina Houlné, as Director of the Library. The Trustees adjourned the meeting to be reconvened on September 18, 2013, to give Ms. Houlné time to respond to the charges against her.
The leadership of the Friends of Rockingham Library, an organization of patrons and citizens designed to support the library in its mission, is appalled by the actions of the Personnel Committee. Many of us on the Friends’ board have worked closely with Ms. Houlné and know that she has served with the utmost professionalism during her tenure, has the full and abiding endorsement of the library staff, the support of a large number of library patrons, and the respect of other librarians throughout the state of Vermont. She has done an outstanding job of providing library services to the library patrons and the general public throughout the very difficult period of the library building renovation, and has overseen the relocation of the library into temporary space during the final phases of the renovation. Ms. Houlné has provided stellar leadership with grace, charm, and integrity. Rather than seeking to dismiss Ms. Houlné, the Personnel Committee should be writing letters of commendation and recommending a salary increase in appreciation for a job well done.
As a result of our first hand knowledge and experience with Ms. Houlné, we feel the Personnel Committee has made a grievous error in judgment and that the error must be rectified.
Therefore, at the reconvened meeting of the Rockingham Free Public Library Board of Trustees on September 18, 2013, we the undersigned, as officers and other board members of the Friends of the Rockingham Library and as concerned citizens, call for: A) the Personnel Committee to withdraw its recommendation for Ms. Houlné’s dismissal, and/or B) the library Trustees to vote down the Committee’s recommendation. For the Personnel Committee or the Trustees to do otherwise will be a miscarriage of justice that will affect our library for years to come. We ask that members of the Personnel Committee and all of the Trustees of the Rockingham Free Public Library set aside any personal issues that may be involved, and do what is right for Ms. Houlné, the library, and our community at large.
Elayne Clift President, FOL Arnold Clift, FOL Board member
Nancy Kovaleff, Vice President, FOL Susan Warner, FOL Board member
Betty Haggerty, Secretary, FOL Susan Lampe-Wilson, FOL Board member
David Gould, Treasurer, FOL