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09.28.17 - SC Meeting Minutes

SYSTEM COUNCIL MINUTES

BERGEN COUNTY COOPERATIVE LIBRARY SYSTEM

Livingston Public Library

September 28, 2017 

___________________________________________________________________                                          _____ 

PRESIDING:                 Kurt Hadeler, Mahwah 

NOT PRESENT:           Franklin Lakes, Hoboken and Ridgefield                                   

                                     Sign-in sheet is attached to the minutes in the BCCLS office

 

1.     Call to Order

Kurt Hadeler called the meeting to order at 10:02 am.

He asked the library directors to identify themselves when speaking so the minutes can be accurately recorded and asked everyone, including guests, to sign in. 

 

 2.     Minutes of the Previous Meetings on June 15, 2017

It was MOVED BY:  Riti Grover                     Seconded by:  John Trause

to approve the minutes.  All in favor.  None opposed.  Motion carried.

             

3.     Public Portion 

No members of the public spoke.

 

4.     Treasurer's Report 

Samantha McCoy presented the August 2017 P & L Reports.

 

August 2017

Of the 2017 Budget of $3,391,100 

$3,192,515 has been received as of August 31, 2017 

Leaving a balance of                         +   $198,585 

Total expenses                                    $2,762,491

Leaving a balance of                            - $628,609

 

Checking Account Balance                        $47,413

NJ Cash Management                           $735,778

Scholarship                                             $28,907

 

There was a question about the Freight, Postage & Delivery actual expense of $14,802 that was not budgeted.  Marie Coughlin explained that this expense from LibraryLinkNJ was for the 5th day of delivery to all libraries.  Delivery had been removed from the libraries' bills so no funds were taken in and, therefore, it was not a budgeted line item.  Freight and postage is charged to the Office Expenses Account and the name of the Freight, Postage & Delivery account will be retitled to better reflect its purpose.  Kurt Hadeler clarified that check #1403 to Highstreet IT actually covers the annual server maintenance through 7/31/18 not 7/31/17.

 

It was MOVED BY:  Laura Rifkin                  Seconded by:  Christine Hartigan

to accept the Treasurer's Report for audit.  All in favor.  None opposed.  Motion carried.

 

5.     President's Report 

Kurt Hadeler's report was previously distributed to the members.  

He began with news about Mary Witherall, Director of Englewood, who is out on medical leave.  A YouCaring site has been established to help with her medical bills and there is a get-well card to sign.  

He reiterated that everyone needs to work together for the good of the organization.  He is concerned that the conversation has shifted from “I'm right and you're wrong” to “I'm right and you're evil”.  As a result, there is no common ground and no basis for dialogue.  Many of the problems can be solved:  billing, budgeting, staffing, services provided, filling positions and dividing up responsibilities.  We can get through these challenges if we work together.  We need to talk about what the organization is and can start the conversation by agreeing to disagree.  We need to manage our own budgets, but also think of the health of the organization; we need to adopt the new billing formula or things will get worse and libraries may leave BCCLS.  BCCLS is a resource-sharing organization.  We need to show collegiality, respect and be open-minded. 

Several directors spoke:  Daragh O'Connor asked what role will the BCCLS President will play in addressing what he perceived as Executive Board's micromanagement of the Executive Director and BCCLS Office (the Executive Board, System Council and Executive Director are like a 3-legged stool; all are essential to BCCLS' success.  The Executive Board and Executive Director need to work together closely.  We need to find a healthy balance and the 3-year terms for the Executive Board members should provide stability and continuity).  Leonard LoPinto was of the opinion that BCCLS office exit interviews and staff assignments should be only be handled by the Executive Director; (the process for exit interviews was developed by the Personnel Committee based on industry best practices).  

Kurt Hadeler advised that the Executive Director Search Committee (EDSC) will meet with a search firm on October 12.  He will be reaching out to potential Interim Executive Directors from outside of BCCLS to gauge their interest in the position.  He also noted that the minutes from the Executive Director Search Committee were sent to the membership separately. 

Lastly, he announced and introduced the new directors:  Julie Marallo (Tenafly), Stephen Turro (Little Ferry) and Jennifer Overton (was Acting Director in Roseland). 

There were no further questions from the membership about his report.   

 

6.     Executive Director's Report

Marie Coughlin's report was previously distributed to the members. 

She advised that it was a hard decision to leave BCCLS and it was a decision that was many months in the making.  BCCLS is wonderful, but it was hard to follow someone who was here such a long time.  BCCLS is now in a period of transition and we need to give the new Executive Director the time to create his/her own vision and the freedom to do so. 

There were no questions about her report. 

 

7.     Election - 2018 Executive Board

Lori Quinn, Chair, introduced the 7 candidates running for the 3 openings on the 2018 Executive Board:  Stephanie Bellucci, Peter Coyl, Gretchen Kaser, Matthew Latham, Gerry McMahon, Margaret Mellett and Sai Rao.  The 8th candidate, Radwa Ali, announced that she is withdrawing herself from the election as she has taken a new position and will be leaving BCCLS at the end of October.  Bios were previously distributed.  Ballots will be sent to Directors this morning and they will have 1 week to vote for 3 of the 7 candidates to join the 2018 Executive Board. 

 

8.     Committee Reports

The following committees submitted reports which were included in the meeting packets:  Collection Development & Reference; eBCCLS; Friends of the Library; Library Administration, Management & Personnel; Professional Development; Public Relations; Special Populations Task Force; and Youth Services.  Kurt Hadeler called attention to the efforts of LAMP and the BCCLS office for the annual Salary Survey; the Youth Services Committee: Build A Better Library event which had phenomenal attendance; the work of the Executive Director Search Committee and By-Laws Committee; and the upcoming advocacy programs of the Government Relations & Public Policy Committee and Trustee Development Committee.  There were no questions about Committee reports.

In addition, 2 committee chairs spoke about their committees' upcoming events.

Friends of the Library – Ellen O'Keefe reminded everyone about the Friends Breakfast on October 17 at Seasons in Washington Township.  She asked Directors to show their support by attending the breakfast and donating a gift basket for the silent auction.  She also asked them to encourage their boards and trustees to attend as this is the major fundraiser for the BCCLS Scholarship Fund.  Many of the Directors at the meeting were prior scholarship winners.  Marie Coughlin noted that several Bergen County Freeholders will attend and participate in the formal presentation of the $150,000 Bergen County grant.  Speakers will include Genesis Jais, a 2017 BCCLS Scholarship winner; Pat Tumulty, NJLA Executive Director and Raphael Badagliacca, local author and passionate library advocate who will also be speaking at the Friends Committee advocacy event in Hasbrouck Heights on December 4. 

Government Relations & Public Policy - Riti Grover also invited everyone to their upcoming advocacy event:  Engaging Stakeholders to Create Our Futures Together which will be held on October 27 at the Ramsey Public Library.  Directors, senior staff, trustees and municipal officials are invited to attend.  Please RSVP via Eventbrite.  They are also working with the Trustee Development Committee and the Friends Committee to create an advocacy toolkit to help spread the message to stakeholders.

 

9.     Old Business

a)  Bylaws Committee Recommended Proposed Changes – Article I, Sections 3 & 5; Addendum I; Article III, Sections 2, 4, 6 & 7; Article V; Article XI

Riti Grover reviewed the recommended changes to Bylaws which were introduced at the System Council on June 15. 

It was MOVED BY:  Judah Hamer and Seconded by:  Daragh O'Connor to approve these changes to the Bylaws as presented.  All in favor.  None opposed.  Motion carried.  No further discussion.

 

10.    New Business

a)  Bylaws Committee – Recommended Proposed Changes – Article I, Sections 2, 3, 4, 4.1, 5 & 6, Article II, Section 2, Article V

Riti Grover reviewed the recommended changes to the bylaws.  Kurt Hadeler advised that a violation of policies is just as actionable as a violation of the bylaws.  There was a question about individual courtesy cards and if they were free or if there was a charge.  The Bylaws Committee will clarify that.  There were no further questions from the membership.   The changes introduced today will be voted on at System Council in October.

 

b)  Executive Board Personnel Committee Report – Executive Director Succession Plan

This report was previously distributed to the members.

There were no questions about this report. 

 

c)  New Billing Formula

Marie Coughlin introduced the new billing formula and explained that there will be a 3-year phase-in.  The current billing formula worked in the past, but it is no longer sustainable and we need to ensure more balance.  When Polaris shares are dropped, the remaining shares increase for everyone else.  In the past, the shortfall was covered through reserves, but we cannot afford to do that anymore. 

Several Directors spoke about the proposed new billing formula and their reasons for voting yes: 

  • Leonard LoPinto thinks this is a temporary solution to get us through the year; he would like a government auditor or an economic person to review the billing so our bills do not increase without getting more services.  We need a vendor who will listen to us to develop our collections and then we can share them.  We cannot freeze Polaris shares and need a billing structure to take us through the next few years.
  • Sharon Castanteen commented that we can review the billing formula again and tweak e-content usage in relation to circ.
  • MaryJo Jennings felt that the tech and office support provided by BCCLS is a bargain and we need to start somewhere to tweak the formula.
  • Holly Belly said the Billing Task Force listened to her concerns.  Some libraries were paying more than their fair share and this is fair and equitable for all.
  • Terrie McColl said PalsPlus and LMXAC are also struggling with their billing formulas; BCCLS is not the only consortium in this situation.
  • Daragh O'Connor noted that the new billing formula provides financial stability and there is no success without BCCLS.
  • Monica Smith reminded everyone that if they don't like the new billing formula, join the Billing Task Force.
  • David Cubie noted that paying for ILS on its own is almost the cost of being in BCCLS.
  • Sharon Castanteen said some Directors may not have the time to join committees, but their voices should still be heard and respected.
  • Kurt Hadeler reminded all to consider the long-term stability and health of the organization.  Don't only think of your individual situation and the immediate short-term impact. 
  • Many Directors thanked the Billing Task Force for their efforts and hard work.  

 

Marie Coughlin reviewed the voting process:

  • The first vote will be for the new billing formula.  It requires a super majority to pass (51 votes if all 76 libraries attend).
  • If it passes, the second vote will be for the budget.  It requires just a simple majority to pass. 
  • If the new billing formula does not pass with a super majority, the vote will be for the budget based on the current billing formula that needs to pass with a simple majority.
  • There will be 2 addenda in the budget that also require a super majority to pass: 
    • $100,000 to allocate to personnel expenses as needed
    • $38,000 to allocate to collectionHQ.  This will only be presented for a vote if additional funding for personnel is approved.

She advised everyone that their bills will increase under the new billing formula if the 2 addenda pass or Polaris shares would increase by about $220 if the old billing formula is used.  She also reminded everyone that they will be voting on the credit card software as well and it also requires a super majority to pass.  The annual software maintenance cost is $16,000 and first-year implementation cost is $29,000.  The Policies & Procedures Committee will propose the credit card software changes and the vote will take place at System Council in October.  If it does not pass, this item will be deleted from the agenda. 

Kurt Hadeler stated that if libraries want to add Polaris shares, it will not cost anything under the new billing formula.  He also reminded everyone that the new billing formula is a 3-year transition and it can be tweaked.  Kathleen McGrail and Kurt Hadeler advised that Directors can see the impact of the 2 addenda by dropping the numbers into the formula.  He suggested creating a 1-page document showing, if approved, this is what it will cost each library if the 2 addenda and credit card software proposals are passed. 

 

d)  2018 BCCLS Budget

There was also a discussion about the BCCLS budget:

  • Susan Meeske felt the open positions need to be filled as we need a solid core in the BCCLS office and the new Executive Director needs to walk into a fully functioning office.  She supports the office staff 100%.  Current staff is stretched to the limit.  Marie Coughlin was asked how the remaining office staff are coping. 
  • At this point, it was MOVED BY:  Samantha McCoy to go into closed session if personnel will be discussed.  Seconded by:  Judah Hamer.  A discussion followed.  Dave Franz preferred not to go into closed session if the discussion is about general staffing and not individual personnel.  He suggested that this discussion be dropped and that everyone give the office staff a polite round of applause.  Samantha McCoy rescinded her motion based on his suggestion.
  • Kurt Hadeler stated that with the departure of Marie Coughlin, there will be 3 unfilled positions in the BCCLS office.
  • Leonard LoPinto asked if it would then be up to the Executive Director or Interim Executive Director to prioritize the workload.  (Yes.)
  • Peter Coyl queried if the credit card software passes, what is the burden on the staff?  Will it increase their workload?  (Quarterly reporting, cutting checks and yes, it will increase their workload.)
  • Kurt Hadeler recommended that approval for the $29,000 credit card proposal should be contingent on approval for the $100,000 for personnel.
  • Leonard LoPinto asked what will the $100,000 be used for?  (There is flexibility to use it for the needs identified by the IED or next ED:  a full-time person, part-time help, contractors or for existing staff if their responsibilities change.)
  • Ruth Rando inquired which positions will not be filled?  (Library Services Director which was restructured as the Staff Development & Engagement Coordinator/Training Officer and the Internet Services Librarian which was restructured as Web Development Coordinator.  Some responsibilities were assigned to other current office staff.)
  • Riti Grover asked if tasks that were reassigned to others in the office were temporary or permanent?  (Hopefully temporary.)
  • Amanda Eigen asked if the lines of employment remain in the budget in the future?  (They are gone unless the $100,000 is approved.)
  • Kurt Hadeler advised that these decisions had to be made, not because the cost to operate BCCLS is up dramatically, but because over 100 Polaris shares were dropped which reduced operating income by $300,000, 10% of the budget.  Not replacing the 2 positions was a cost-savings measure and the decision was made as a result of membership feedback; when surveyed, 88% of members wanted to wanted to keep BCCLS charges low so these positions and many services were removed from the basic budget, but everyone has a voice to vote if they feel differently now.  Committees will play an additional role in staff development.  The committees have accomplished a lot this year; is their work sustainable?
  • Catherine Dodwell inquired about the cost of Leap.  (The Polaris bill is about $220,000 and the original Leap bill was $5,500, but Leap is going to a web-based formula and we do not know what the cost will be.  Leap will eventually replace Polaris, but there is no guarantee that Leap will do it all.)
  • Ann McCarthy asked about staffing for credit cards and cHQ?  Can we wait a year for the AED or new ED to decide?  (The core work:  ILS, IT, cataloging is getting done, just at a slower pace.)
  • Chris Doto wanted to clarify that the $100,000 is a budget figure.  (Yes, and it does not need to be spent.)
  • Daragh O'Connor asked what happens if the budget does not pass?  (There is an austerity budget which includes a reduction of 61% in CloudLibrary/ebooks and 15% in the personnel staffing line.  Polaris operating shares would be about $3,000.)
  • Daragh O'Connor noted the new 2018 budget is less than a 5% reduction from the 2017 budget and even less if the 2 addenda are approved.
  • Samantha McCoy commented that the $100,000 for personnel should have been included in the budget and fellow Directors are encouraged to vote yes for this addendum. 
  • Marie Coughlin was thanked for her efforts in hosting the webinars which provided valuable information, explained the merits of the new billing formula, and why the current billing formula is unsustainable.  Directors advised that this detailed information helped them to convince their boards to support a vote for the new billing formula even if their bills will increase.

 

11.  Membership Hearing 

  • Ellen O'Keefe mentioned that someone from Rochelle Park reached out to her about trying to be a library champion.
  • John Trause asked that people watch the tone of their e-mails and not send nasty e-mails to the BCCLS staff.
  • Kurt Hadeler noted that it is always appropriate to say thank you for going above and beyond.
  • Laura Rifkin thanked the BCCLS office for their dedication and professionalism over the last 6 months.
  • Sharon Castaneen asked the Personnel Committee to include grievance procedures to protect staff from abuse when reviewing the Personnel Manual.
  • Daragh O'Connor shared that Dan Lane took the time to come to River Edge to help a patron with the transition from OverDrive to CloudLibrary.
  • Jennifer Breuer stated that, in 1935, her Board of Trustees acquired a collection of Islamic manuscripts.  These were recently given to her and the library is in discussion to sell it to the Met for $39,000.

 

12.  Next Meeting         System Council:  Thursday, 10/26/17 at 9:30 am – Maywood Public Library

 

13.  Adjournment         

It was MOVED by:  Kurt Hadeler                 Seconded by:  Christine Hartigan

to adjourn at 12:12 pm.  All in favor.

 

 

dms:  10/2/17

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