TRUSTEES IN ATTENDANCE: Hon. Burton C. Conner, Jim Wilder, Johnathan Ferguson, Esquire James T. Walker & Paula A. Lewis, Commissioner
OTHERS IN ATTENDANCE: Nora J. Everlove, Librarian & Lynn T. Atkinson,
Judge Conner called the February 5, 2010 meeting to order. Ms. Lewis made a motion to approve the minutes as presented, Mr. Walker seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously.
II. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS:
Ms. Everlove reported that we have had three good months in a row. Income is averaging close to $29,000.00 per month. The financial statements for December 2009 and January 2010 were approved by motion made by Mr. Wilder and Mr. Ferguson seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously. Ms. Everlove reported that the WestLaw Bills from the previous month were not lost and that they were paid.
III: SHELVING UPDATE:
Payment was made on the shelving with a holdback of funds as approved at the January 2010 meeting and as set for the in the minutes from that meeting. Ms. Everlove reported that she has had several e-mails from the vendor and she has asked for substantiation on the labor charges, end panels and conference room table. As of today’s date the vendor has not made an appointment to meet with Ms. Everlove to discuss this matter in person and she feels that this matter may not proceed any further as discussed by the Trustees at the previous meeting and she does not recommend any further action at this time.
IV: FEDERAL MATERIALS SUBSCRIPTION (PRINT):
Ms. Everlove advised that the Federal materials were on our list to cancel but that Mr. Walker feels very strongly about keeping it. She explained that there is one amount for the annual subscription and then a secondary amount if any of the volumes are split. There is no way to anticipate when the volumes may be split or how much they will cost. The splits cost more than the annual subscription for the Federal materials. The renewed subscription for the softbound supplements as they come out is approximately $4,000.00 and that would give the Library Federal Reporters, Federal Supplement, USCA, as well as all the Supreme Court Reporters. Ms. Everlove reported that she can tell the Trustees that the annual subscription will cost approximately $4,000.00 and the library has $4,000.00 at this stage that she was not anticipating that we would have due to the reduced revenues that were anticipated. There is an online alternative.
Mr. Walker stated that he feels that the library should go ahead and retained the Federal Shepard’s Subscription. If we get an expenses recompiler then the librarian can be instructed to hold it and then the Trustees can take a look at whether or not that purchase is economically viable. Ms. Everlove reported that the cost for recompilations for Federal Supplement and Federal Reporters Citators which do not include all Federal Citators was $11,000.00.
The meeting was adjourned to the area of the library that houses the Federal materials for further explanation and clarification by Ms. Everlove.
Discussion was had by the Trustees concerning this matter. Mr. Walker made a motion to continue with the paper supplements and then if there is a recompiling with new numerous hardback volumes representing a substantial expense then the Trustees can address that issue at the appropriate time. Mr. Ferguson seconded the motion.
Judge Conner asked for any further discussion. Mr. Wilder asked about the three good months of revenue and he is concerned. He asked Ms. Everlove if she is comfortable that the increase in revenues is not just a blip on the radar. Ms. Everlove reported that we’ve had $86,000.00 in revenues so far this fiscal year. She based the austerity budget on the idea that $22,000.00 would be generated in revenues which would result in at most $66,000.00 in income to date. She is advising that we are about $20,000.00 ahead of where she had anticipated we would be and she is proposing that we take $4,000.00 of that $20,000.00.
Judge Conner suggested that the Trustees need to arrive at some sort of floor for financial planning purposes. Ms. Everlove reported that the library has approximately $110,000.00 as a reserve. Judge Conner asked Mr. Walker what his thoughts are on what the reserve should be. Mr. Walker stated that the Trustees first fiduciary duty is to provide a viable law library to the public; it is not to sit on a hoard of money. He feels that any figure he would give at this time
would be arbitrary. He is certain that Shepard’s is crucial to the print collection that we have for our Federal library. Judge Conner asked the Trustees to come back to the next meeting with a reserve figure in mind so that as a Board this can be established as matter of good budget planning. Ms. Lewis respectfully disagreed with Mr. Walker about sitting on a large sum of money, but feels that it is simply prudent to have money in reserve. Judge Conner stated that it would be helpful to be able to measure the usage of materials when it comes to making the difficult decision about what to keep and what to cut. Ms. Everlove reported that it is extremely difficult to gauge usage. It was agreed that Ms. Everlove created some type of survey for the patrons to fill out concerning usage.
Mr. Ferguson stated that he feels that due to the fact that the legislation can change the library’s funding sources that the library should have a three or four month reserve account that would cover expenses that would give the Trustees that time period to come up with alternative funding sources. He further stated that he does not have a feel for monthly expenses are. Mr. Ferguson asked Ms. Everlove to please advise the Trustees as to what she feels that a three or four month reserve would be. Ms. Everlove advised that she feels that anywhere from a four to six month reserve would be comfortable.
Discussion was had concerning a new ten year plan. The last ten year plan was done in 2006. Mr. Walker feels that the ten year plan should be updated and that the reserve should be addressed in the context of the updated ten year plan. Mr. Ferguson stated that it sounds reasonable to him. Ms. Lewis stated that there are two ways to look at a reserve amount. One way to look at it is a percentage of the annual costs or figure out what costs are and decide how many months reserve the Trustees are comfortable with. Ms. Everlove reported that a new ten year plan is a lot of work. Mr. Walker stated that it is not something that can be done in thirty days. Ms. Everlove stated that she could have an updated/new plan in about two months. She further stated that it would also require separate compensation for her services and she hates the idea of charging money to figure out how much money we have.
Judge Conner stated that he feels that the revamping of the ten year plans needs to wait. He feels that the library needs a year of operation to see how things shake down. He feels that it might not be such a good idea to shape a new Ten Year Plan in this strange economic environment. However, he does feel that the Trustees need to come up with a reserve amount that they are comfortable with. Mr. Walker stated that he is not comfortable with this as he would consider the figure arbitrary. Judge Conner stated that he understands Mr. Walker’s
position on the matter, but as Chairman he is going to put this matter on next month’s agenda for discussion. Ms. Lewis stated that the County looks at a percentage of their expenses as an emergency reserve; that is on the advice of financial advisors and it also has some bearing on the County’s financial standing as registered by the bond issuers so it’s not just a dartboard approach. She advised that she would be happy to go to them to ask what the justification is for the percentage that they use to determine the reserve and to report back to the Trustees. Mr. Walker stated that we are on the same page and the idea for an emergency reserve is unimpeachable if any such decision be made rationally upon the basis of a defensible record. Mr. Wilder stated that he would also look at the Boards that he sits on to see how these figure are arrived at.
Mr. Walker’s motion to expend the fund for the softbound supplements was called up again for vote. Mr. Wilder cast the one nay vote for this motion and the motion was carried.
Ms. Everlove reported half of the law library traffic was pro se and half attorneys at the old location. The December and January traffic patterns reflect that only 25% of the traffic is attorneys and 75% is pro se. She stated that pro se traffic is much more labor intensive for the staff.
Mr. Ferguson noted that pro se evening attendance has almost doubled. Ms. Everlove reported that there are two reasons for this. The Law Library is more accessible and the public is able to see the lights on from Indian River Drive and people are coming in for the sole purpose of using the computers.
VI: SIGNAGE AND OTHER FALL OUT FROM THE MOVE:
Ms. Everlove reported that there are still some nagging issues that need to be taken care of, but nothing that requires action by the Board at this time. She reported that there should be a sign on the door shortly. There is now a sign over the door. Hopefully the issues will be resolved by the reception.
VII: ST. LUCIE WEST ANNEX:
Ms. Everlove reported that everything is pretty much status quo. She hasn’t had time to go out there since the last meeting. She still needs to move bookcases around.
Ms. Atkinson reported that the insurance policy on the new building was paid and the reimbursement on the old building has been received and deposited. Additional insurance will need to be purchased on the books and materials stored in the 7th Street building.
Ms. Lewis reported that Mr. Wetzel who is the director of IT feels that it would be appropriate to direct a letter of thanks to the Board of County Commissioners for the use of the SmartBoard. Judge Conner stated that thanks to the County be addressed at the Reception in the appropriate terminology. It was agreed that the thanks should be addressed as, the County to assist the citizens decided to make the use of the SmartBoard available to the law library.
Mr. Walker reported that Commissioner Craft indicated at the Bar Luncheon that the County would give the law library four computers. Ms. Everlove stated that she understood that it was software. There was some discussion as to exactly what was said at the meeting. Ms. Lewis advised that Commissioner Craft spoke to her about giving the old computers to the law library and feels they would not be useful to the law library. It was agreed that the old computers would not suffice for the needs of the law library. Ms. Everlove volunteered to contact Commissioner Craft to clarify this matter.
Mr. Walker reported that the St. Lucie County Bar Association authorized their previous donation of $2500.00 for the purchase of a SmartBoard to be reallocated for the purchase of electronic technology. Mr. Ferguson has requested a figure to approach the Port St. Lucie Bar for a contribution. The final figured decided upon was $700.00. This would be for the purchase of a computer, all the software and a printed for the St. Lucie West Branch.
Mr. Wilder stated that the private donation of $500.00 is still authorized to be expended on the purchase of computer equipment.
Mr. Wilder reported on his findings concerning an AED for the law library. If the County is not going to provide an AED for this site then he recommends a Foster-Phelps for about $1,800.00. He can write a grant that will cut the cost in half. There is also another AED that is available for the price of $1,400.00 that does not need a Doctor’s prescription for the AED, but he does not feel that it is adequate.
Ms. Everlove reported that she had spoken to Roger Shinn about the feasibility of the County Commission purchasing as AED for the law library. Mr. Shinn stated that the Trustees would have to take this request to the County Commission because there is not money for this. Ms. Lewis reported that she did not feel that this would be feasible. Mr. Ferguson said that he felt the only thing we could ask the County Commission to do is for the law library to piggyback on their purchasing if it would result in a lesser cost to the law library for this purchase.
Mr. Walker stated that although he agrees that medical equipment is important, he does not support the expenditure of monies on the purchase of an AED especially after the agonizing discussion on purchasing the Federal materials. He suggested perhaps that COSA be approached. Mr. Wilder reported that COSA does not have these funds. Mr. Walker stated that he does not see that the Special Act provides for purchases such as this. Judge Conner stated that the Trustees have discussed this over several meetings and it needs to be decided if this matter is going to be pursued or not and the lawyers needs to review the Special Act and decide if monies can be expended on this type of equipment. Several different avenues of funding were discussed. Mr. Ferguson made a two part suggestion, one that if Mr. Wilder could be prepared at the next meeting to summarize the conclusions that he has reached as to the particular unit and cost and two that he would be prepared, if the Trustees agree, to go to the County Commission at meeting to and ask permission to work with their purchasing department to see if there is some contract out there that we can piggy back that will save some money and at the next meeting Mr. Wilder and Mr. Ferguson can report back and the Trustees can decide if this is something they want to spend money on. Judge Conner suggested that perhaps the Friends of the Law Library might be persuaded to fund the purchase of an AED for the Law Library.
The final decision is for Mr. Ferguson and Mr. Wilder to present at the next meeting and then decisions will be made. Ms. Lewis advised Mr. Ferguson not to go before the Board, but to contact purchasing instead. Ms. Lewis would be happy to approach purchasing.
XI: AFTER HOURS PARKING:
Mr. Walker questioned if the issue of after-hours parking for the Law Library has been addressed. Ms. Everlove stated that she is satisfied with the status of the parking at this time.
XII: AFTER-HOURS ACCESS:
Mr. Walker and Ms. Everlove met with Sheriff Mascara to discuss after-hours access for attorneys. Sheriff Mascara has now authorized after-hours access by member the St. Lucie County and Port St. Lucie Bar Associations. The attorneys will fill out an application with the Law Library who will collect these and send them over to Court Security for processing. Once approved a swipe card will be issued for use at the front door of the Law Library. Court Security is hoping that most of the applications could be processed at the same time. Conversation was had concerning the amount of the fee to be charged for this access. The original charge was $10.00. Ms. Everlove is going to check with Court Security to see what their charge will be. There was discussion as to an annual charge for this access. Judge Conner asked Ms. Everlove to verify that even though Court Security would like for most of the applications to come in at once, is it possible to add individual attorneys throughout the year. It was decided to table a motion in this matter until next month’s meeting when all of the necessary information is available. Mr. Walker requested that a letter of thanks be sent to Sheriff Mascara. Mr. Walker will draft the letter and e-mail it to Judge Conner. Ms. Everlove already had a letter prepared to thank the Sheriff. Mr. Walker suggested to Mr. Ferguson that a letter of thanks from the Port St. Lucie Bar might be in order as well.
XIII: TELEVISED CALL-IN PROGRAM:
Mr. Walker advised the Trustees that he has been asked by the Friend’s of the Law Library to request a letter to the County endorsing the idea of a televised call-in program using the County TV Station. The Friend’s will produce the program in conjunction with the County this call-in program. The idea is for the attorney’s to be in the studio taking the calls. If the attorney needs additional information then they can contact the Law Library for resource information. This will ultimately be a means of promoting use of the Law Library and increasing its visibility in the community.
Discussion was had concerning this matter. Judge Conner suggested that photos of the Law Library be blown up and used as a background for the show at the studio. Judge Conner also voiced concerns about staff issues. Mr. Walker made a motion for the Trustees to submit a letter in support of the Friend’s of the Law Library in conjunction with the County TV Station producing a TV call-in program wherein volunteer attorneys will man the phones in the TV studio, hopefully with a picture backdrop of photos of the Law Library and Law Library resources except for the use of staff will be available for use by the attorneys. Mr. Ferguson seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously. Mr. Walker is going to draft the letter of endorsement for Judge Conner’s signature.
As there was no further business to discuss the meeting was adjourned.
DATE: March 5, 2010
BURTON C. CONNER, Chairman
JIM WILDER, Member
JOHNATHAN FERGUSON, Member
PAULA A. LEWIS, Member
JAMES T. WALKER, Member