RUPERT J. SMITH LAW LIBRARY OF ST. LUCIE COUNTY, INC.
Meeting Minutes - November 9, 2007 at 11:30 a.m.
Honorable Burton C. Conner, Chairman
Attendees: Honorable Burton C. Conner, Chairman, Jim Wilder, Trustee, Paul Fanning, Esquire, Trustee, Nora Everlove, Librarian and Lynn T. Atkinson, Secretary
Absentees: James T. Walker, Esquire, Trustee and Paula Lewis, County Commissioner, Trustee
I. Previous Minutes:
Mr. Wilder had a correction for line 51/52 of the minutes. Judge Conner made the necessary changes and Mr. Wilder made a motion to approve the minutes as presented with the corrections and Mr. Fanning seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously.
II. Financial Statements:
Judge Conner reported that he had a conversation with Tom Genung, Court Administrator concerning the decrease in collections concerning civil penalties. Mr. Genung stated that he had also noticed a bit of a downturn in the Chief Judge’s portion of that revenue as well. Although he had no explanation for the downturn, his thought was that perhaps the Clerk of Court wasn’t collecting timely or something, so Mr. Genung is going to contact Mr. Fry, the Clerk of Court to check on that. As of today’s date, Judge Conner has received no further information concerning this matter. Judge Conner asked Ms. Everlove to contact Mr. Fry as well.
Ms. Everlove gave Mr. Fanning a brief synopsis of the revenue streams for the law library and advised that typically the law library has been making around $24,000.00 per month among all revenue sources. She advised that she was a little alarmed and reported at the last meeting that the past three months’ revenues have all been below average. Ms. Everlove reported that she and Mr. Wilder had discussed prior to the meeting that the September 2007 financial report appeared to reflect an average month, so hopefully we may be back on track. Ms. Everlove will continue to monitor the revenue source trends.
Judge Conner asked if there anyone had any concerns about the September 2007 financial report. Ms. Everlove reported that the first thing that she checked was to see what our bottom line was, what we have in reserves. The bottom line is about $5,000.00 less than what she had projectedclass=Section2>
it would be and essentially that is because of the slow months.
Ms. Atkinson asked Mr. Fanning if he had received a copy of the financial report via e-mail from the County. He advised that he had not. Ms. Everlove advised that although the law library receives a copy, she would like for a copy to come directly to her e-mail address as well. Ms. Atkinson stated that she would request that Ms. Coallier add both addresses to her list of recipients for the financial reports.
Mr. Wilder made a motion to approve the September 2007 financial Report, Mr. Fanning seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously.
III. Space Needs:
Judge Conner spoke to Lt. Hardie, Court Security on a couple of issues. One of the issues reminded him that when we move to the new location, of course, we’re going to continue, conceptually, to have the law library open after hours, just to remind him that hopefully will go into the Sheriff’s budget. That generated a conversation and Lt. Hardie apparently has checked with Wakenhut from time to time and he does have a little concern that there doesn’t seem to be that many people using the law library after hours and his comment to Judge Conner was that the Sheriff agreed this year to absorb it into his budget, but Judge Conner was left with the impression that with budget downsizing and all that, he’s not sure that the Sheriff is going to want to continue to do that. Judge Conner felt that there needs to be some discussion concerning this matter and where we are going to go with this.
The other thing that Judge Conner mentioned to Lt. Hardie is that in the past we have discussed that if there is going to be a doorway for the public to come to the law library down in the basement, there would conceptually be a metal detector and a Wackenhut person there or some security person there to check people coming in. It was also contemplated that the new Clerk’s building would have court security just like coming into this courthouse. Apparently, the County, again, due to the downsizing in the budget, has now decided that they are not going to provide security at the Clerk’s Office. Judge Conner feels that this decision will probably be reversed, because, the Sheriff, he thinks will be adamant about the fact that if there is going to be a possibility of the public flowing from one building to the other, you’ve got to have security. Apparently what the County cut out of the budget was the hardware, because basically the manpower would come out of the Sheriff’s budget, but the metal detectors and x-ray machines would come out of the County’s budget. Again, he feels that the Sheriff and the Chief Judge will both insist on the security, because the security of this building will be compromised if there is an adjoining public building that is without security.
Judge Conner stated that Lt. Hardie told him that he feels that due to the budget crunch, neither the County nor the Sheriff will be able to afford to have someone during business hours downstairs, so now the thought is that the public would come in from either this building or the Clerk’s Offices, go through the check point, go through and elevator system, which means that the public will have to do some walking around to get to where they are going. The door directly to the law library would not be open during regular courthouse business hours. Judge Conner stated that if it was open after hours, he is afraid that security for this would become the law library’s responsibility.
Lt. Hardie advised Judge Conner that he sees no problem with using Sheriff’s Trustees to help with the physical move of the law library from one building to the other.
Ms. Everlove reported that she had spoken with Mr. Drittenbaus, the architect and had learned much of what Judge Conner just reported. But, Ms. Everlove believes, as Mr. Drittenbaus explained it to her, that the cost factor between the two buildings has been eliminated through a series of closed doors or whatever. And that the Clerk’s Office was not part of the judiciary and can be without security. She explained that 30% of clerks’ offices statewide are without security and much of the 70% that does have security is because they are in the same building and under the same security that is provided to the courts. Mr. Drittenbaus is saying that essentially the building will be without security and if the law library wants security it would probably cost about $120,000.00 per year for the staffing. Ms. Everlove advised that she had this conversation with Mr. Drittenbaus as a result of last months meeting where concerns were expressed as to the space issue for metal detectors, as well as security gates in the new law library space. But, the conversation didn’t even get that far, because of the financial concerns. Ms. Everlove stated that she has mixed feelings about the security issue.
Ms. Everlove reported that the use of the law library after hours during the summer was dismal. She further advised that in the last two weeks there have been eight people that used the law library after hours. She feels this is because individuals were advised verbally of the additional hours. Ms. Everlove reported that since she’s been keeping the numbers, the highest number of people in the law library after hours on any given evening has been nine, but that was after a notice appeared in the newspaper. She said that a big night would normally be three of four people. Judge Conner suggested that at the next meeting, Ms. Everlove report on a history of how many people have been here on a nightly basis.
Mr. Wilder reported that he feels that one reason there is so little usage after hours is because people are unaware of the additional hours. He advised that he tells people of the additional hours and then reminds them again. He feels that we need to get this information out to the public, while we have the ability to be open at night. Mr. Wilder suggested maybe an article in Luminaries. Ms. Everlove suggested that when the phone is answered perhaps the public should be reminded of the additional hours. Discussion was had on just extending the law library hours to 5:00 p.m. daily. Ms. Everlove advised that could be done, but she wasn’t sure if that would help the people that needed to come in after work.
Ms. Everlove reported that she, personally, is not uncomfortable with staffing the law library without security, because there are plenty of law libraries that maintain hours after five in downtown areas where there is no security in the building. But her staff feels differently as they have no experience in this area.
Jude Conner asked about the $100,000.00 figure that Mr. Drittenbaus gave Ms. Everlove for the cost of security per year. Ms. Everlove stated that she felt this included the equipment and two security officers. Ms. Everlove wasn’t sure how much of the cost is equipment. She is concerned about having people go through a circuitous route to get to the law library. She feels that this would be a real roadblock. Mr. Wilder agreed that this would create a barrier to the use of the law library. Ms. Everlove stated that with the jury room there would be people routing the jurors along the way, but with the pro se individuals that need to use the law library, they will just be wondering around lost. Judge Conner stated that unfortunately we may just be stuck with this situation. There are supposed to be placards on walls with maps and directions.
Another suggestion was made that perhaps Wackenhut could be approached for a quote to man the law library for the additional four hours per week.
Ms. Everlove reported on the questions from the last meeting concerning the new shelving. She spoke with Roger Shinn and he said as of today there is plenty of room to store the shelving at the Sam’s Club site. The County has loading dock and forklifts that can handle moving and loading the shelving. Judge Conner asked if Mr. Shinn gave any indication as to when he thinks the move might occur. Ms. Everlove said that Mr. Shinn seemed to think that it might be a full year at this point.
Ms. Everlove asked the shelving contractor what would happen to the bid on the shelving if we wait a year to purchase. He said it will probably go up 10%, because of shipping costs, but he advised that there will be no additional charge if the purchase is made within the next couple of months. Judge Conner stated that he feels that we need to monitor when the County actually awards a bid and when they aware the bid, then we need to go ahead and place the order.
V. Judges’ Portrait:
Mr. Wilder moved that Ms. Atkinson go ahead and order the portrait from the proof that was provided by Mr. Staten. Mr. Fanning seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously.
VI. St. Lucie West Law Library Branch:
Judge Conner inquired as to any issues with the St. Lucie west Branch of the law library. Ms. Everlove stated that there were no issues that she was aware of. Judge Conner asked if Ms. Everlove would please check on this and asked Mr. Fanning to keep his ears open as well.
There being nothing further, the meeting was adjourned.
Dated: December ______, 2007
Burton C. Conner, Chairman
James T. Walker, Member
Jim Wilder, Member
Paula A. Lewis
Paul Fanning, Member